Scientists discover how chameleons change colour

The chameleon's secret is revealed.

The chameleon's secret is revealed. Image by imke.stahlmann / CC BY-SA 2.0

A team at the University of Geneva has discovered how chameleons change the colour of their skin. The findings, published on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, reveal that the spectacular natural displays are caused by the lizards manipulating the spacing between floating nanocrystals in their skin. By shifting the lattices of these crystals, the skin reflects different wavelengths of light. The scientists cracked the long standing mystery after years of studying Madagascar’s panther chameleon, which is known for having one of the most incredible colour displays in the chameleon kingdom. Read more:

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