We know that an organism is anything that is living and can function by itself. This paper will help understand chameleons and how they have evolved to adapt to their surroundings. It will also discuss their physical features inside and out. Myths and facts will be revealed, as well as a few comparisons between sexes. Though there are many species of chameleons, everything discussed will be in reference to them as a whole. Chameleons are part of the reptile family. Half of their population lives and originated from Madagascar. Others can be found in the Middle East, Europe, and India. Fossils show that chameleons have been around for more than 26 million years (Klappenbach, 2014). The two scientific names given to them are Brookesiini and Chamaeleonini. Their known life span is to be around five to nine years (Switch Zoo , 2013). They are omnivores and carnivores, so their diet consists of insects, fruit, animals and flowers. There are also more than 135 different species of chameleons and six different subfamilies, which are Bradypodian, Brookesia, Calumma, Rhampolean, Chamaeleo, and Furcifer (Chameleons Online, 2002).
The bulge underneath their tails can determine the sex of a chameleon visibly. This specie is commonly found in three types of habitats. The main one is the forest, where there are many trees and bushes for them to travel and hide. This is the same for scrublands, which is the second habitat. It is common for chameleons to want to stay off the ground and higher up, but few do like to make home in fallen leaves and sticks in large open areas. The third habitat is the desert, and even though it is hot and dry, few chameleons can still survive. Chameleons possess many features that are critical to their survival, i (Komeleons). The first and well-known feature is their skin color. Their skin helps them to blend into their environment, but also stand out. They are able to regulate their body temperature and communicate based on the color of their skin. The important thing to know is that a chameleon’s skin color is a reflection of their feelings. When they feel threatened and scared they will turn a dull color like a grey or a brown. When they feel dominant and want to defend themselves or their territory they will turn bright colors to seem more intimidating.
There is evidence that suggests that chameleons evolved to stand out not to blend in. The reason their skin is able to change so many colors is because there is a layer of different pigments underneath known as chromatophore cells. There are four layers of skin cells that go in the order of yellow, red, blue, and brown in color. The color changing is from their hormones and not their nervous system. Females also change colors when they are pregnant or want to warn away males. Though chameleons are not the only organisms that can change color, they are among the fastest that can. Next, are the eyes of a chameleon. Their eyes are large and sit on the side of their heads. They are able to move separately and almost view 360 degrees of their surroundings (Foden, 2014). They are also able to move their eyes around without moving their heads. Another feature is their tongue. A chameleon’s tongue can be one and a half times longer than their body.
When it is not extended, it sits coiled inside of their neck. They are able to extend their tongues to catch insects without being noticed, and the insects stick to it making it easier to catch. The fourth feature of a chameleon is their feet. Each foot has five toes. The feet in the front has two toes going outward and three toes going inward, while the back feet are the opposite. Their feet help them to grip braches to climb and stay mobile. Lastly, is a chameleon’s tail. Their tail is used for gripping while moving and to maintain their balance. When a chameleon feels threatened they can coil it, or roll it up, to make them appear larger while defensive. The inner structure of chameleons is also important in survival, ii (Neumann). They consist of a heart, oesophagus, lungs, liver, intestine, fat bodies, gal bladder, kidney, and cloaca.
Females also have ovaries and oviducts for reproduction. They have a skeletal system that includes a very unique and important bone, the hyoid, iii (Terraristik). The hyoid is the bone that is connected to their tongue. When chameleons extend their tongues you will notice that up close the bone’s outline is seen through the tongue. The hyoid is also used against predators when a chameleon feels threatened. They will push it down to extend their throat out to give the appearance that they are larger. It is clear to see that chameleons have evolved and are able to use many techniques to defend off predators. They are able to use their bodies to communicate with one another and express their feelings. Chameleons are also able to survive in normal and some extreme climates and habitats. The myth of chameleons being able to blend in with their surroundings has clearly been proven to be the completely opposite, as they change to stand out. In conclusion, there are many species of chameleons that have been around for many years, but they have evolved greatly over time.
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