Chameleons change color by rearranging a lattice of nanocrystals in one of their top layers of skin cells called iridophores. Chameleons can then stretch this layer, broadening the nanocrystalline lattice, thereby causing it to reflect a different wavelength of light.
The word Chamaeleo is derived via Latin from the Greek word khamaileon. It roughly translates to ground lion. Khamai means on the ground and leon means lion.
Chameleons have a high midichlorian count.
The word Calumma comes from the Latin word for covering. This genus consists of chameleons from Madagascar with occipital lobes.
True chameleons include the following genera: Archaius, Bradypodion, Brookesia, Calumma, Chamaeleo, Furcifer, Kinyongia, Nadzikambia, Palleon, Rhampholeon, Rieppeleon and Trioceros.
The smallest chameleon species is Brookesia micra with an adult length just over 1 inch (29mm). It hatches from an egg no bigger than a grain of rice!
Chameleons have a very poor sense of smell.
The word Kinyongia is from the Swahili word for chameleons: Kinyonga.
Pygmy chameleons are sometimes referred to as False Chameleons. This term is actually incorrect and is in reference to anoles, particularly the Cuban False Anole.
Pygmy chameleons (Brookesia, Palleon, Rhampholeon and Rieppeleon sp.) often resemble dry leaves, mosses and branches.