How It Works

How do chameleons camouflage themselves?

Chameleons camouflage themselves in a variety of different ways but most famously by changing the colour and pattern of their skin. Most chameleons can change colour and they do this by expanding or contracting cells in their skin that contain different pigments. They can blend into their surroundings by altering the colour of their skin to match the background. Chameleons will also use their ability to switch colour during social displays when they alter their colouration and pattern dramatically from the background.
Their body shape also helps with camouflage as well as the way they move. The high arched back gives their body a leaf-like shape and their slow movements make it diffi cult for predators and prey to detect them. Some chameleons, for example the stump-tailed chameleon, rock back and forward to look like leaves being blown by the wind.

  • Indrajit Aikat

    The information is very basic and general in nature . What would be interesting to know is what is the character of the cells under the skin – has there been any scientific work done so far to synthesize these multi-pigmented cells and whether the color transformation process can be triggered by some external means – like electric charge etc.Some updates will be most welcome .

  • Anynomous

    I think it would be cool to reproduce the effect of a chameleon’s cells. We could make a suit out of these cells. The suit would project the image behind the person onto the front of the suit. If the user moved slowly and made no sudden movements he would be practically invisible !!!! If any progress is made please tell others and post it! Keep me updated