Changing Colour


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Ok... I need EVERYONE that knows this ... maybe even a in-depth answer would be better . about how/why chameleons change colour?

Do they go by mood?
To blend with the environment?
The Lighting?

etc etc etc etc

Give me what is the main causers? which are the least .
they change by mood, enviorment is just a myth. they also change to get more heat, lose some heat. so on.
I was speaking with a local zoologist and he said since they (Chameleons) cannot hear this is their only way to communicate. Each color change symbolizes a message. I have also read what Stuey has said as well. The biggest myth is they change by environment. Hope this helps.

The environment does play a part in a chameleon's color changing....they change colors to warm up quicker and to cool off. As for the surroundings that they are placed in or on...some of them do change somewhat depending on what they are sitting on....but most of the color and pattern changing has to do with their moods and the message that they wish to convey to other chameleons and creatures around them.

There are more than 100 types of chameleons. Most change from brown to green and back. But some turn almost any color. A change can occur in 20 seconds! How does this color "magic" happen?

Chameleons are born with special cells that have a color, or pigment, in them. These cells lie in layers under the chameleon's outer skin. They are called chromatophores (kro MAT uh fors). The top layers of chromatophores have red or yellow pigment. The lower layers have blue or white pigment. When these pigment cells change, the chameleon's skin color changes.

Chromatophores change because they get a message from the brain. The message tells the cells to enlarge or to shrink. These actions cause cell pigments to mix—just like paint.

A chemical called melanin (MEH la nuhn) also helps chameleons turn color. Melanin fibers can spread like spiderwebs through layers of pigment cells. Their presence causes skin to darken.

Many people think chameleons change color to blend in with their surroundings. Scientists disagree. Their studies show that light, temperature, and mood cause chameleons to change color. Sometimes changing color can make the chameleon more comfortable. Sometimes it helps the animal communicate with other chameleons.

Light: Say a brown chameleon decides to rest in the sun. The chameleon's brain may tell the yellow cells in its skin to become larger than the blue cells below. Suddenly the chameleon turns green. This lighter color helps the skin reflect bright sunlight.

Temperature: If a chameleon is cold, it might turn a darker color. Why? Because darker colors absorb more heat than light ones.

Mood: Mood probably causes most color changes. For example, if a panther chameleon gets angry, red and yellow replace its normal color. A chemical called melanin rises toward the skin's surface, causing areas of the skin to darken. The animal's new look tells other chameleons, "I'm ready to fight!"

When a male wants to attract a female, he will wear his most flashy colors, as if to say, "Hey baby, want to hang out?" One type of male chameleon will change from brown to purple and light blue. His eyelids may even turn yellow with green spots. What female chameleon wouldn't fall for such a handsome guy?"
"The intensity of external light is one major factor."
"chameleons tend to alter their color from light to dark when they are overly cool or warm respectively. Finally, a combination of emotional and physiological responses cause significant color change. These include, but are not limited to, gravidity, stress, illness, fear, discontentment and responses to the presence of other animals whether they be the same or different species or the same or different sex."
"Chameleons have specialized cells that lie in two layers under the chameleon's transparent outer skin. The cells in the upper layer, which are called chromatophores, contain yellow and red pigments. Below these chromatophores is a another cell layer. Cells of this layer are called guanophores and they contain the colorless crystaline substance guanin. These guanophores reflect amongst others the blue part of incident light. If the upper layer of chromatophores is yellow, the reflected light becomes green (blue plus yellow). A layer of dark melanin containing melanophores is situated even deeper under these blue and white light reflecting guanophores.These melanophores influence the lightness of the reflected light. All these different pigment cells can relocate their pigments, thereby influencing the color of light which is reflected. "

Some chameleons also turn pale at night (I have seen some that are actually brighter at night)...but there has been no real scientific reason presented for this color change yet. I suspect that it might have something to do with the relaxing of defenses during sleep...or maybe it saves energy...or perhaps that when its dark color doesn't matter or maybe (as Chris Anderson has said) its because the eyes are shut.

One more thing...color changes often occur when the chameleon is sick or dying. Perhaps the color changing shuts down to some extent to conserve energy for other uses at these times?
Chameleons most likely can hear but since their ears are covered it would be extremely low frequencies. Some research has proven that veileds hoot. More research in this area needs to be done before proving the extent of the calls, thier understanding to them and what they actually mean.
Gordo said..."I was speaking with a local zoologist and he said since they (Chameleons) cannot hear"....they can hear sounds to some extent.
"Chameleons have very limited hearing, tuning in to frequencies between 200 and 600 Hz".

Want to hear the veiled chameleon "hoot"? Go to this site...

The link above about hearing them Hoot is no longer working, just thought id let you know, Good Posts though.
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