Color Change in Chameleons
Kimmie McGowen and Madeline Robin
Chameleons are a majestic animal that seem to instantly blend into their environment, but why and how are they able to do this? Although little research has gone into studying the color changing behaviors of chameleons, researchers have discovered a multitude interesting things about the mechanisms, evolution and function of this unique ability.
Chameleons are a type of lizard found throughout the forest and desserts of Africa, Asia and southern Europe. There are approximately 160 known species which range is size, habitat and coloration. Chameleon's sight is their most important sense, which goes hand and hand with their ability to change colors. The extent of coloration differs from species, as well as the meaning of certain shades. Chameleons utilize their ability to change color in everything from ritual combat to communication to reproduction to defense.
Four QuestionsThe “father of animal behavior”, Nikolaas Tinbergen, developed an approach to learning and understanding a behavior of an animal. This approach asks four questions:
1. What is the phylogenetic history of this behavior?
This webpage will apply these four questions to explain the color change of chameleons.