Researchers at the University of Geneva, in Switzerland have since discovered the mystery behind the rapid change of color by chameleons. The reptile can alter its color skin at will courtesy of its in – built camouflaging mechanism.
The research study revealed that the whole of this mystery is brought about by some mirror like minuscule crystals found beneath the skin of this reptile. When it gets excited or feel like there is a threat around it, the crystals will expand or contract which leads to the shifting of color. Normally the main colors a chameleon will camouflage under are red, green and yellow.
The crystals are perfectly arrangement which takes the shape of a triangular latticework. The crystals are made of guanine which one of the many building blocks of DNA. This is according to the study by the scientists. Individual crystals are located at different positions under the skin and the fact that they will reflect at different wavelengths of light makes it even more possible for the chameleon to shift its colors which happens in a couple of minutes.
By the way, these crystals are very important and they will be found in many chameleon species. To unravel this mystery, the researchers used a high-resolution videography known us spectroscopy which explains the interaction between light and matter. The lead author of the study and professor of genetics and evolution, Michael Milinkovitch says that, the colors generated by the chameleon have no pigments.
. The fact that the crystals can stretch makes it easier for the iridophores to pick on the reflective light. This light then bounces off to specific wave lengths depending on the reptile’s skin position. The chameleon is able to change how light gets reflected and refracted hence there is augmentation of its coloration.
This reptile is a native of an Island in Madagascar. It has kept the minds of many rolling and making imaginations of how it is able to change its colors.