This Surprising New Discovery Will Change What You Know About Chameleons

Recently, scientists at the University of Geneva made a major breakthrough in discovering how and why the chameleon changes its colors.

Led by biologist Michel Milinkovitch, the team discovered that chameleons have a layer of cells called iridophores which contain nanocrystals of guanine. These nanocrystals respond to the chameleon’s mood. When the animal is calm, the crystals reflect blue wavelengths. When they’re excited, chameleons will display more yellows and reds.

And what causes this excitement that results in their characteristic color changes?

It’s not the desire to be camouflaged. It turns out color shifts are actually a mating behavior. Apparently, we aren’t the only animals who want to look fabulous when we’re feeling flirty!

Almost half of the world’s chameleon species live on the island of Madagascar.

You can help this beautiful lizard by contributing to preservation efforts for their natural habitat in the rainforests of Madagascar. These delicate rainforests face rapid deforestation, but you can help reverse this trend by helping preserve acres of precious habitat. You can make a difference for the chameleon and all the other species that also call the rainforest home. Donate today.

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