Masters Of Disguise Essay

956 WordsApr 26, 20114 Pages
Chameleons are exotic misunderstood creatures that are native to specific regions in the world. These regions are northern Africa, the Middle East, India and Madagascar. Most people identify chameleons with their color changing abilities believing that they can imitate any form of color to blend in with their surroundings. Some cultures even believe that chameleons represent the devil by being able to manipulate their appearance. Chameleons have a very sophisticated skin pigment. Scientist claim that chameleons camouflage themselves to hide from predators but they also speak with their skin. There are more than one hundred and fifty different species of chameleons through out their native regions. People commonly recognize chameleons with their color changing abilities but only certain species of chameleons share the camouflage ability. The chameleon species are separated into two genera “Chamaeleo with seventy species, and Brookesia with sixteen species”. The Brookesia chameleon species do not change color (Freedman 3: 815). The Chamaeleo species which do possess the ability to change color are enable to do so by “varying amounts of pigment displayed by specialized cells in the skin, known as chromatophores” (Freedman 3: 814). A “Chromatophores is pigment containing and light-reflecting cells found in amphibians, fish, reptiles, crustaceans and cephalopods”(wikipedia). Chameleon skin has two layers of chromatorphores, the top layer consists of pigments of red or yellow and the bottom consist of pigments of blue or white when these mix it causes the color to change (see figure below). (Robinsonlibrary) Melanin, which is a chemical also found in human skin causing us to tan, plays a tremendous role in the skin pigmentation of a chameleon (Cooper). Melanin is just a fancy word for pigment. It is created in the skin by the: “metabolism of amino acids called

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