ADVERTISEMENT
2 /3 FREE ARTICLES LEFT THIS MONTH Remaining
Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.

If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.

ENJOY UNLIMITED ACCES TO C&EN

Materials

Chameleons’ Color-Changing Science

Lizards shift shades by tuning guanine nanocrystals in their skin

by Bethany Halford
March 13, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 11

BOLD COLORS
Credit: Michel C. Milinkovitch/www.lanevol.org
When this male panther chameleon sees another adult male, it changes color to show who is boss. The video is accelerated 8 times. The first frame of the movie is shown in the lower-right for a better visualization of the extent of color change.

Whether it’s to hide from predators, to attract mates, or to frighten rivals, changing colors is more than just a neat trick for chameleons. It’s key to their survival. But just how the skin of these creatures shifts from red to gold to green and many colors in between has been something of a mystery, until now. Using electron microscopy, specialized videography, and some modeling, Michel C. Milinkovitch and coworkers at Switzerland’s University of Geneva found that panther chameleons (Furcifer pardalis), one of which is pictured here, alter their hue by tuning guanine nanocrystals within their skin (Nat. Commun. 2015, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7368). By changing the spacing between these nanocrystals, the chameleons can alter which wavelengths of light their skin absorbs and reflects.

X

Article:

This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment