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Chameleon colors predict who will win a fight

If you’re a chameleon, camouflage isn’t always what you want from your color-changing abilities. Update! Chameleons aren’t usually trying to blend in.

Sometimes you want to stand out and look as bright and as threatening as possible, specifically in a fight with another chameleon. But where you are bright matters.

Behavioral ecologist Russell Ligon and his colleague Kevin McGraw captured skirmishes between 10 male veiled chameleons on a high-speed camera and found that their colors can predict who will win the fight. From New Scientist

They found that males with the brightest side stripes were more likely to instigate a fight, whereas those with brighter heads that changed colour most rapidly were more likely to win. This suggests that different colours and patterns may signal different aspects of competitive behaviour – how motivated the chameleon is versus its strength.

Read more about chameleon color communication research at National Geographic: Chameleons Convey Different Info With Different Body Parts.

Related watching: camouflage videos like the glass frog, leaf-tailed geckos, and the common potoo, and, of course, chameleons!