Chameleons are pretty special. With their independently moving Mad-Eye Moody eyeballs
and their “live long and prosper” hands,
who isn’t intrigued by these goofy lizards?
Perhaps their most amazing feature is their ability to change color.
Recent research shows that the key to this process may be less biological and more CRYSTALS.
Studying male panther chameleons from Madagascar, a cross-disciplinary team of biologists and physicists from the University of Geneva found that the reptiles’ skin is covered by a thick layer of light-reflecting cells called iridophores, which are embedded with photonic crystals—a latticed organization of guanine nanocrystals. Depending on how closely those crystals are clustered, they reflect different wavelengths of light.
Read more in “The Secret to How Chameleons Change Color” over at wired.com or go straight to the (open!) source at Nature Communications – “Photonic crystals cause active colour change in chameleons“.