How do chameleons change colour

From Veritasium

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Crystal clear

Conventional wisdom says that chameleons change colour to blend into their surroundings. In this video Veritasium’s Derek Muller explains that that’s not quite right. Male chameleons’ colour depends on how excited or relaxed they are, according to proximity to rival males or desirable females.

For years, it was believed that the colour change was due to pigment changes in the chameleon skin, but new research from physicists and biologists has suggested something very different. Rather than altering and moving colour pigments, chameleons tweak the structure of microscopic crystals lying in a lattice beneath the skin. Altering the arrangement of this crystal layer alters the way light interacts and is reflected, meaning different colours can appear.

For another example of this method of colouring in, watch this video on the brilliant blue of the Blue Adonis butterfly.

Details

Type:
Documentary
Published:
2015
Filmed:
2015
Credits:

Veritasium

Licence: Standard YouTube Licence

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