Information about body parts

Veiled-chameleon2If you describe someone as a chameleon, you probably mean that they’re great at blending in, at changing their behaviour to suit different social situations. You probably don’t mean that they make their heads really bright when they’re about to get in a fight. The latter, however, would be more fitting.

Chameleons are famed for their ability to change colour, and people usually assume that this helps them to camouflage themselves from predators or prey. But in 2008, Devi Stuart-Fox and Adnan Moussalli showed that chameleons probably evolved their dynamic palettes to be social rather than secretive, to stand out rather than blend in.

The duo studied 21 species and sub-species of South African dwarf chameleons and found that those that undergo the most dramatic colour changes show stronger contrasts between different body parts, and stand out more strongly against their normal environments. It was communication not disguise that drove their capacity for colour change.

But what are they communicating? It’s possible that their messages are very sophisticated because they can change colour very quickly, and control the hues of different body parts independently. Their bodies don’t just flip between two settings. They’re dynamic living displays. And Russell Ligon and Kevin McGraw from Arizona State University have now shown that chameleons can convey different information by changing the colours of different body parts.

The duo set up duels between male veiled chameleons—a large species that grows up to two feet long, and has a reputation for being aggressive. When males meet each other, they react aggressively. They hiss, rock and curl their tails. They turn sideways and change the shape of their bodies from a narrow tube into a flat panel, filled with bright stripes and fleckles of green, turquoise, orange, yellow, lilac and charcoal.

“The changes essentially, turn the chameleon’s entire body into a billboard advertisement, ” says Ligon. “The situation can escalate rather quickly. If neither chameleon backs down, they fight with full-body lunges and bites.” This usually lasts for just a few seconds, before one combatant realises he’s outmatched and backs down. Ligon and McGraw only had to intervene in one of their staged bouts, when a smaller rival pushed his luck so far that his opponent drew blood.

As the lizards squared off, the duo photographed them every four seconds, and measured the brightness and colours of 28 body parts. They also converted their photos according to the technical specifications of chameleon eyes, to see the individuals as other chameleons would see them.

You might also like

What is so special about the human brain?
What is so special about the human brain?
18 Amazing facts about the human brain
18 Amazing facts about the human brain
THE Most Amazing Facts About The Human Brain2 - Human Brain
THE Most Amazing Facts About The Human Brain2 - Human Brain
Seafood-wired Brain | The Great Human Odyssey
Seafood-wired Brain | The Great Human Odyssey
Tomás Human Body Spanish
Mobile Application (Tomás)
  • Click the images and learn every part of the human body.
  • The best way to learn.
  • Fun game to educate children

Copyright © . All Rights Reserved