What animals don't use camouflage to adapt?
Chameleons: Craziest color changes are not used for camouflage
Chameleons have two opposing states, as Milinkovitch says. They either try to make themselves invisible with subtle color changes, or they want to be seen. For this, too, they change their color - but that is immediately noticeable.
Against the green background of the forest, the representation of male dominance cannot be overlooked. Chameleons are extremely territorial: when two males meet, they engage in a violent battle of colors.
"You're going crazy," says Milinkovitch. "They turn yellow, red, white - you can really see that in the tree."
The weaker male, who is often smaller and not quite as brightly colored, communicates his defeat by ending his shrill performance first. With that, it makes it clear that it doesn't want to fight.
Perhaps another tactic will be tried. Research has shown that some male chameleons use their color to pretend to be females in order to sneak past other males without the hassle of competition. The same behavior has already been observed in cuttlefish.
Some chameleons also use their brilliant colors to impress females. But no matter how spectacular their performance is - some females are just not interested and also express this through their color.
“The female then reacts based on their availability,” explains Milinkovitch. If it is already carrying the sperm of another male, "it becomes very dark and very aggressive".
The males can become violent, so it is important for females to avoid the males when they are not in need of sperm. If the female is available, she will not change color much and retain a greenish-brown hue that signals her submissiveness, as Milinkovitch says.
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