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How do Chameleons change colors?

  1. May 21, 2005 #1

    T@P

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    How do they change colors?

    or more specifically, how do they know what color(s) are behind them? How does their skin actually change to that color?

    and also, can people sort of use this 'technology' of chameleons to create an invisibility device? (a device that displays whats behind it on a screen to make it look like you arent there)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 21, 2005 #2

    quasar987

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  4. May 21, 2005 #3

    Danger

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    This post makes me very sad. It reminds me of my favourite pet, a chameleon. I loved her dearly, and then she exploded trying to hide in a box of crayons.
     
  5. May 22, 2005 #4

    Mk

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    Very clever Danger, I love it.
     
  6. May 22, 2005 #5

    Danger

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    Any joke worth laughing at is worth stealing. I'm pretty sure that this came from Johnny Hart in the 'BC' comics, before he became a raving Jesus freak. I'm not about to admit that I couldn't come up with something as clever and apropos, but it took a lot less effort this way.

    edit: This sort of conversation is why I spend most of my time in General Discussion. I try to maintain decorum and dignity out here in the real world, but it's a struggle.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2005
  7. May 22, 2005 #6
    Thanks to T@P I have great idea how to become invisible . Do you guys know that flounders (flat fish living on bottom of ocean) is even more capable of comuflaging itself than chameleon ? ?
    What you have to do is, you have to buy (they are v.cheap) dozens or so flounders and stick them to your jacket and presto !!
    But I guess live chameleons are the best solution.
     
  8. May 22, 2005 #7

    Danger

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    The flounder thing is excellent, as long as you're very good at holding your breath.
     
  9. May 22, 2005 #8

    T@P

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    oh man thats a great idea! only ud stink from miles away...
    we posted at the same time!! oooh
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2005
  10. May 22, 2005 #9

    T@P

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    wait so a chameleon doesnt actually change its color based on whats its standing next to? only based on mood etc? hmm thats fishy
     
  11. May 22, 2005 #10
    in winter time you can do that with flounders, no problem. but you right guys, when gets hot outside you have to switch to chameleons.
     
  12. May 22, 2005 #11

    Danger

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    I haven't read the associated threads, but we did have a 'class chameleon' in public school. It definitely changed its colour to match it's surroundings as closely as possible. What I did notice is that it had only one overall colour, with some variety of shading. An octopus, on the other hand, can vary every square mm of its surface, and even put on shows such as rippling colour bands, or burst patterns, in an apparently conversational manner.
     
  13. May 22, 2005 #12
    As far as I know, US Army has been going after Intelligent Camouflaging since 2000 and are supposed to finish it by 2010. The uniforms are made up of optic fibres and high resolutions cameras and processors are used to capture the surrounding colors and replicate them at the end of the fibres.

    Another combating technique which is supposed to be finished by 2010 is air ionisation virtual 3D screens(a la Total Recal Way)
     
  14. May 22, 2005 #13

    Danger

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    Yet another display of idiocy in action. Great idea for an SF novel; ****ty idea for practical combat.
     
  15. May 22, 2005 #14

    T@P

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    hmmm. so anyone know more than the typical kindergarden view of how they work? im guessing they do change based on their background. but see chameleons and octopi would be really cool if you could like take some of their dna, and instead of making dumb glow in the dark bunnies make color changing bunnies. or people. then you wouldnt have to wear clothing...
     
  16. May 22, 2005 #15

    DocToxyn

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    The color changing ability of chameleons and octopi are accomplished by specialized pigment cells in the skin collectively called chromatophores. These cells contain pigments of different color that are actuated by surrounding muscle cells to expand or contract depending on the desired effect. This link to chameleon color change describes in greater detail the types of chromatophores and other aspects of this behavior. The mechanism is much the same in the octopus and indeed they in general appear better at it, this may be a factor of the number of chromatophores (some 2 million in an adult) and the added feature of being able to alter its skin texture as well. However, the picture in the link is very impressive for a chameleon.

    As mentioned, mood, temperature and other factors can determine skin color in these animals as much as background. The chameleons (old world type with sticky projectile tongues) I owned were more likely to change when presented with food or a mirror than when placed against a different background.
     
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