Why chameleon changes its color?

Many people think that chameleon changes its color spontaneously and mimicries under the world around him. There are those who believe that the color of the reptile depends on her mood. In principle, both opinions are true – partly. To make sure that let’s look at our charming beast under the microscope – literally.

The words “emotional color” for chameleon mean a lot. It has been proven that the ability of reptile to change the color is primarily about the intricacies of its mental state. There are special cells in chameleons – chromatophores, the main task of which is to reflect and dispel light beams. Chromatophores redistribute pigments of four main colors, providing one color.

However, recently studied Iridophora pigment cells that contain guanin crystals, a nitrogen base, which is also an important element in matters of DNA replication and RNA, is also played. These crystals are ordered in the form of a well-structured lattice, packed in special processes and are stored in the star cell structure. Further turns on optics. Depending on the state of chameleon, the length of the processes may vary. Thus, the reptile, herself is not knowing that, regulates the spectrum of the color reflected by the color, because even a slight change in the length of such a process gives a greater or less transmittance for one or another wavelength.

About infrared spectrum is worth mentioning separately. It is found that in deep layers of the skin of chameleons there is a second type of iridophores, the accumulation of guanin in them is built so as to cut the infrared rays, but not completely, up to 40-45%. It is assumed that this particular feature allows chameleons to not overheat in the sun.

Why chameleon changes its color

Introducing an exemplary mechanism for the work of this interesting system, you can set the microscope and return to the mood and the condition of chameleon.

Red, yellow, black and brown colors are created by chromatophoes. And all other colors, including classic green, are obtained as a result of a more complex work of iridophores. As a result, the color with the predominance of green and blue shade speaks about the calm state of the reptile. With the appearance of a threat or in the marriage period there is a kind of hormonal splash, the length of the prohphs of iridophores increases, and the color changes to red-yellow. By the way, if chameleon see his own reflection, he will perceive him as another individual. Consequently, the color is also changed to the combat, with the predominance of yellow and red, and the chameleon itself will take a threatening pose. If the animal experiences pain or weakened, the distance between crystals is reduced, separate dark spots appear, and the total color composition becomes faded, almost colorless. Such a reaction speaks of serious condition and the need for urgent appeal to the doctor.

So it turns out that chameleons are not so simple, as it may seem at first glance. Those more clever.


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