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Author Topic: How and why do chameleons change colour?  (Read 8712 times)

Jordan Brinkman

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How and why do chameleons change colour?
« on: 05/05/2010 20:30:02 »
Jordan Brinkman  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hello All,

First, I just want to say I'm a huge fan of the podcast, you guys are fantastic.  

I'm a high school biology teacher in Warrensburg, Missouri and I had a student ask me an interesting question:

How and why do chameleons change colour?  

I've always thought, like many of my students, that chameleons change colour in response to their environment.  However, after doing some research it seems they change colour based on temperature, light intensity, and mood.  

If this is true how does the colour change always seem to match that of their environment?  Could you explain how this process works at a molecular level and how this produces the change in colour?  

You're all doing a great job, keep up the good work!

Sincerely,

Jordan Brinkman

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 05/05/2010 20:30:02 by _system »


 

Offline thedoc

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« Last Edit: 01/01/1970 01:00:00 by _system »
 

Offline RD

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How and why do chameleons change colour?
« Reply #2 on: 10/10/2010 14:14:10 »
feature=related @ 6:38
« Last Edit: 10/10/2010 14:18:58 by RD »
 

Offline imatfaal

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How and why do chameleons change colour?
« Reply #3 on: 12/10/2010 14:50:53 »
Unfortunately QI can sometimes get it wrong - or at least partially wrong.  Although most changes are to do with display and stress, it is also the case that they change colour to camouflage themselves
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13944-chameleons-finetune-camouflage-to-predators-vision.html
 

Offline hunter8br

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How and why do chameleons change colour?
« Reply #4 on: 11/11/2010 07:03:24 »
Most chameleons change between green, brown and gray - their surroundings are usually the same colors. Each chameleon species has its own color range. They can't just turn any color. Chameleons can change their color because of a very complex cell system. Beneath it's transparent skin are several cell layers which contain pigments. We also have pigments which cause our skin to darken in the sun. By opening and closing cells called melanophores, chameleons change their skin color. The cells direct sun to specific pigments which reflects the light back in different colors.

 

Muse

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« Reply #5 on: 16/12/2013 18:18:30 »
Cool
 

Dan

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« Reply #6 on: 08/02/2014 11:07:51 »
You guys better do a little more research!!  I put a green pet chameleon on my back deck, and within a few minutes time, he had changed color to perfectly match the redwood stain of the deck !!  A very unique color since it's not a natural color, but the color of the woodstain -- almost couldn't see him !!
 

john

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« Reply #7 on: 25/09/2014 12:50:39 »
Youir article is plain wrong. They do change colour depending on the environment. There are videos showing this. They change to blend in to the colour around them.
 

pigsnarl

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« Reply #8 on: 30/09/2014 17:09:27 »
Yes, could we have a comment on this apparent ability chameleons have to match nearby colours? Are the youtube videos fakes? And if they can do that where does the signal come from to change? Presumably from their eyes? Or can they change colour even if their eyes are covered? Or is all that just a myth?
 

Tsubaki

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« Reply #9 on: 17/03/2015 09:50:36 »
Leaving the matter of why the change colour aside, the explanation for how they change their colour is actually wrong. Relatively new research has shown that a whole different mechanism is behind it.  You should look it up and update your page, I would explain it myself but I fear I'm no expert
 

Tsubaki

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« Reply #10 on: 17/03/2015 09:59:35 »
Leaving the matter of why the change colour aside, the explanation for how they change their colour is actually wrong. Relatively new research has shown that a whole different mechanism is behind it.  You should look it up and update your page, I would explain it myself but I fear I'm no expert
 

Ihave10inches

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« Reply #11 on: 17/09/2015 02:41:54 »
I like chameleons Ann stuff
 

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« Reply #11 on: 17/09/2015 02:41:54 »

 

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