How do chameleons change c olors
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How do Chameleons Change C olors?. Bri Suskie and Gabe Wagner. Getting to know the Chameleon. Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Reptilia Order: Squamata Suborder: Iguania Family: Chamaeleonidae

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How do Chameleons Change C olors?

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How do chameleons change c olors

How do Chameleons Change Colors?

Bri Suskie and Gabe Wagner

Getting to know the chameleon

Getting to know the Chameleon

  • Kingdom:Animalia

  • Phylum:Chordata

  • Class:Reptilia

  • Order:Squamata

  • Suborder:Iguania

  • Family:Chamaeleonidae

  • Some of the chameleon’s relatives include the lizard, gecko, komodo dragon, iguana etc.



  • Chameleons reproduce sexually.

  • The male will try to attract the female by:

    • Bobbing their heads

    • Inflating their throats

    • Puffing up their bodies

    • Displaying their brightest colors

  • The female may reject the male in various different ways.

  • The female will eventually lay eggs.

Fact or myth

Fact or Myth

  • True or false? Chameleons change colors in order to match their surroundings.

  • If you said false, what do you think could trigger their color changes?

How do chameleons change c olors


  • Chameleons change color:

    - in response to light and temperature

    - depending on their feelings/mood

    - various other environmental changes

  • How do they do this?

A deeper look

A Deeper Look

  • Chameleons have four layers of skin, all containing various types of pigments.

  • They are born with special cells known as chromatophores.

    - Top layer (red and yellow pigments)

    - Middle layer (blue and white pigments)

    - Bottom layer (contains melanin)

Various layers of the skin

Various Layers of the Skin

  • Top layer:

    • Small streams of light strike the red and yellow pigments.

  • Middle layer:

    • “Tyndall blue” is created.

  • Bottom layer:

    • The brain tells the pigments to either disperse or gather.

More about the melanin

More About the Melanin

  • Depending on the dispersal of the melanin will determine what shade of a particular color the chameleon will be.

  • When the melanin-containing cells are completely contracted:

    • Chameleon will appear in lighter colors.

  • When the melanin is partially dispersed:

    • Chameleon will appear tan, green or dark green.

  • When the melanin is completely dispersed:

    • Chameleon will appear very dark, sometimes even black.

How does this relate to cell division

How Does this Relate to Cell Division?

  • When the autonomic nervous system (ANS) sends hormones to the brain, it tells the brain whether the cells containing melanin should disperse or gather.

  • When the cells are demanded to gather, they will sometimes combine to form one cell.

  • Just like the combination of cells, when the cells are commanded to disperse, they will sometimes divide, leaving the two newly created cells with an equal dispersion of genes.

What form of cell division is this

What Form of Cell Division is this?

  • When the cells divide during a chameleon’s color change, they perform the cell division known as mitosis.

  • Mitosis is defined as the type of cell division that forms two new nuclei, each of which has the same number of chromosomes.



  • The five stages of mitosis are prophase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase and cytokinesis.

  • Prophase:

    • First stage in which the nuclear envelope breaks down and strands of chromatin form into chromosomes.

  • Metaphase:

    • Second stage in which the duplicated chromosomes lineup along the equatorial plate of the spindle.

  • Anaphase:

    • Third stage in which the daughter chromosomes move away from each other to opposite ends of the cell.

Mitosis continued

Mitosis (continued)

  • Telophase:

    • Fourth and final stage in which the separated chromosomes reach the opposite poles of the dividing cell and the nuclei of the daughter cells form around the two sets of chromosomes.

  • Cytokinesis:

    • Additional stage in which the cytoplasm of the cell is divided, which follows the division of a cell’s nucleus after mitosis or meiosis.

Works cited

Works Cited

  • Optical Society of America. (2008). How do Chameleons Change Colors? Retrieved from

  • Wise Geek. (2003). How do Chameleons Change Colors? Retrieved from

  • Creation Wiki. (2009). Chameleon.

  • The Dictionary. (2013). Reference.


  • Oxford Journals. (2003). Genome Biology and Evolution. Retrieved from

Works cited continued

Works Cited (continued)

  • Jrank. (2006). Chameleons.

  • Oxford Journals. (2003). Genome Biology and Evolution. Retrieved from

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