Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Space Travel News .




FLORA AND FAUNA
ASU researchers discover chameleons use colorful language to communicate
by Staff Writers
Tempe AZ (SPX) Dec 16, 2013


ASU researchers have discovered that color changes in chameleons convey different types of information during important social interactions. The lizards' body stripes and head colorings are particularly important during contests over territory and females. Credit: Megan Best.

To protect themselves, some animals rapidly change color when their environments change, but chameleons change colors in unusual ways when they interact with other chameleons. Arizona State University researchers have discovered that these color changes don't happen "out-of-the-blue" - instead, they convey different types of information during important social interactions.

For example, when male chameleons challenge each other for territory or a female, their coloring becomes brighter and much more intense. Males that display brighter stripes when they are aggressive are more likely to approach their opponent, and those that achieve brighter head colors are more likely to win fights. Also, how quickly their heads change color is an important predictor of which chameleon will win a skirmish.

Russell Ligon, a doctoral candidate in ASU's School of Life Sciences, and Kevin McGraw, an associate professor in the school, used photographic and mathematical modeling tools in new ways to study how the color change of veiled chameleons (Chameleon calyptratus) relates to aggressive behavior. They studied the distance, maximum brightness and speed of color change of 28 different patches across the chameleons' bodies.

"We found that the stripes, which are most apparent when chameleons display their bodies laterally to their opponents, predict the likelihood that a chameleon will follow up with an actual approach," said Ligon. "In addition, head coloration - specifically brightness and speed of color change - predicted which was lizard was going to win."

Chameleons typically have resting colors that range from brown to green, with hints of yellow, but each chameleon has unique markings. During a contest, the lizards show bright yellows, oranges, greens and turquoises.

Interestingly, when the chameleons showed-off their stripes from a distance and followed that display with a "head-on" approach before combat, the important color signals on the striped parts of the body and head were accentuated.

"By using bright color signals and drastically changing their physical appearance, the chameleons' bodies become almost like a billboard - the winner of a fight is often decided before they actually make physical contact," Ligon said.

"The winner is the one that causes its opponent to retreat. While sometimes they do engage in physical combat, these contests are very short - five to 15 seconds. More often than not, their color displays end the contest before they even get started."

This is the first study of its kind. The research team took pictures of color standards and estimated the sensitivity of different photoreceptors in their cameras. Then, they used information on the physiology and sensitivity of the photoreceptors of chameleons, and were able to measure the colors actually seen by the lizards.

Though this method has previously been used to quantify static (unchanging) coloration, this study is the first to quantify rapid color change while incorporating the visual sensitivities of the animals under study.

There are approximately 160 species of chameleons in the world. Veiled chameleons (Chameleon calyptratus) are native to the Arabian Peninsula - specifically Yemen and Saudi Arabia. They are omnivorous and live essentially solitary lives except when mating. Many chameleons are at great risk, as destruction of their habitats is occurring at alarming rates.

The results of the study are published online today in the journal Biology Letters.

.


Related Links
Arizona State University
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





FLORA AND FAUNA
French customs announce major ivory haul
Poitiers, France (AFP) Dec 16, 2013
French customs said Monday they found 82 kilogrammes (180 pounds) of elephant tusks in the boot of a car as part of a routine inspection, one of the biggest ivory seizures in a decade. Customs officials discovered two whole elephant tusks and several chunks of tusks worth around 80,000 euros ($110,000) in the car near the western city of Poitiers on December 10, they said in a statement. ... read more


FLORA AND FAUNA
Arianespace orders 18 rockets for 2 bn euros

Iran sends second monkey into space

SpaceX to bid for rights to historic NASA launch pad

Arianespace to launch GSAT-15 and GSAT-16 satellites for India

FLORA AND FAUNA
NASA poised to launch Mars atmosphere probe

The Tough Task of Finding Fossils While Wearing a Spacesuit

Mars One Selects Lockheed Martin to Study First Private Unmanned Mission to Mars

SSTL selected for first private Mars mission

FLORA AND FAUNA
Mining the moon is pie in the sky for China: experts

Ancient crater could hold clues about moon's mantle

Minerals in giant impact crater may be clues to moon's makeup, origin

Silent Orbit for China's Moon Lander

FLORA AND FAUNA
The Sounds of New Horizons

On the Path to Pluto, 5 AU and Closing

SwRI study finds that Pluto satellites' orbital ballet may hint of long-ago collisions

Archival Hubble Images Reveal Neptune's "Lost" Inner Moon

FLORA AND FAUNA
Feature of Earth's atmosphere may help in search for habitable planets

Astronomers discover planet that shouldn't be there

Hot Jupiters Highlight Challenges in the Search for Life Beyond Earth

Astronomers find strange planet orbiting where there shouldn't be one

FLORA AND FAUNA
NASA Engineers Crush Giant Fuel Tank To Improve Rocket Design

'Solutions' necessary for rocket accidents

Blue Origin Test-Fires New Rocket Engine

South Korea to launch homegrown rocket by 2020

FLORA AND FAUNA
China deploys 'Jade Rabbit' rover on moon

The Dragon Has Landed

Chinaese moon rover and lander photograph each other

China's Jade Rabbit lunar rover sends first photos from moon

FLORA AND FAUNA
Fire vs. Ice: The Science of ISON at Perihelion

Countdown Begins for NASA's OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Mission

Chinese flyby of asteroid shows space rock is "rubble"

'Wake up' competition for Europe's sleepy comet-chaser




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement