Listen Did you ever just wish you could blend into the background? Perhaps you forgot to read all of your homework assignment and the teacher calls on you. Wouldn't it be great if you could make yourself look like a desk and chair? If you're a fan of lizards, you probably already know that there are some types of lizards — called chameleons — that can change their color.
And now researchers have revealed their rapid color-change secrets: Chameleons have light-reflecting nanocrystals in their skin that can be rearranged.
The findings are published in Nature Communications this week. In Madagascar, male and female panther chameleons Furcifer pardalis of all ages can alter the brightness of their skin, but adult males demonstrate a much bigger range, with various combinations of white, fiery reds, and calming hues.
When encountering a rival or a potential mate, a mature male panther chameleon can shift the background color of his skin from green to yellow or orange, while blue patches turn whitish, and reds becomes brighter. This all happens within a couple of minutes, and it's totally reversible.
These photonic nanocrystals are made of guanine, one of the building blocks of DNA, and chameleons can change the structural arrangement of the cells they're in just by relaxing or exciting that is, stretching the skin.
When the animal is calm, the nanocrystals are organized into a dense network reflecting blue and green wavelengths. When excited, the nanocrystal lattice loosens to allow the reflection of other colors, like yellows and reds.
Additionally, the team found that chameleons have evolved not one, but two superimposed layers of light-reflective cells with different shapes. A second, deeper population of iridophores with larger, less-organized crystals reflect a substantial portion of sunlight in the near-infrared range.
This layer likely plays a role in passive thermal protection—helping the chameleon stay cool and guarding against intense sun exposure.
In the video below, you can see the colors change in an adult male panther chameleon "under excitation" when presented with another adult male in his vision field. The original video is accelerated eight times, and the first frame of the movie is shown in the lower-right to demonstrate the extent of color change.
You can watch another awesome video of a male relaxing after combat here.The lizards' skin also contains yellow pigments, and blue mixed with yellow makes green, a "cryptic" color that camouflages them among trees and plants, Milinkovitch said. This male chameleon. Skin of many colors.
Changing skin color is an important part of communication among chameleons. According to the San Diego Zoo, a chameleon's skin changes colors in response to its emotions, such. A cold chameleon may become dark to absorb more heat, whereas a hotter chameleon may turn pale to reflect the sun's heat.
Chameleons will also use bold color changes to . As Boy George once sang, “Karma chameleon, you come and go.” For decades, biologists thought chameleons were able to change color using pigments in their skin.
Chameleons have two layers of special skin cells, the researchers found. The upper layer, which is more prominent in males than in females and juveniles, can change color by changing its structure. Some chameleon species are able to change their skin kaja-net.coment chameleon species are able to vary their coloration and pattern through combinations of pink, blue, red, orange, green, black, brown, light blue, yellow, turquoise, and purple.
Chameleon skin has a superficial layer which contains pigments, and under the layer are cells with Kingdom: Animalia.