Physiological colour change:

Jackson chameleons, like many other chameleons have the unique ability to change the color of their skin thanks to specialized skin cells called chromatophore. The Jackson chameleon can use these specialized cells to communicate between one another. It is also used to attract partnersVisually astonishing colors of the Jackson Chameleon for mating. Jackson chameleons change color to signify emotional states (Holland et al. 2010). A common misconception is that many believe chameleons’ use their color changing ability to camouflage themselves, this is not the case. At rest they are often a shade of brown or green but become substantially more brightly colored when courting, frightened, excited, threatened, or even when defending their territory from another chameleon.(Kundinger 2001)

Specialized Vision:

Close up of chameleon eyeJackson chameleons have connected upper and lower eyelids, which form a cone shape around the pupil. There is only a small pin whole opening for the pupil to look through. Jackson chameleons are able to rotate their eyes 180° and each eye has the ability to view to separate images at the same time allowing them to have a 360° view all around them. They are also able to move both eyes towards an object to have a more clear focus on the object. The most unique part about the chameleon’s vision is that it is telescopic. The eyelids and lenses located within the eye are able to adjust allowing the chameleon to zoom in on objects as if it had a pair of binoculars. This gives the Jackson chameleon a large advantage when it comes to spotting pray and potential predators. (Holland et al. 2010)

Zygodactyl Foot Pattern:

Since Jackson chameleons are tree dwellers they need to have a sure grip that allows them to move from branch to branch with ease. They achieve their sure grip by having toes that are arranged in a zygodactyl pattern. This means that three toes are located on one side of the foot and two toes are on the other side, similar to a mitten. This gives the chameleon a tighter and more stable grip when walking on branches. (Eason and Ferguson 1988)

Prehensile Tail:

Jackson Chameleons wrapped tailAlthough Jackson chameleons are excellent climbers and have astonishing grip its always good to have a safety net just in case. The chameleon’s prehensile tail is its own personal safety net. It uses its highly muscular tail to grip onto braches in case it falls or takes a wrong step. Chameleons most often rely on their tails when lunging after food. By hanging by their tail they are able to extend a crucial centimeter further to catch their pray. The tail is so powerful that the chameleon is able to pull its entire body back up to the branch and regain its position. (Champsus 2012)

Slow Movement:

The Jackson chameleons key to blending into its habitat, and hiding from predators, is its slow moving body. Because of its natural color, green, and because its commonly located in trees, by moving slow it is able to disguise itself as a leaf. It also draws less attention to itself by swaying slowly back and forth as if it was a leaf on a tree.(Kundinger 2001)

Tongue Mechanics:
Jackson's Chameleon catching prey
The Jackson chameleons tongue has evolved to make catching prey more effective. The tongue is attached to the back of the mouth by a hyoid bone. Attached to the hyoid bone is the cartilaginous hyoid horn, which is surrounded by the hollow tongue (Champsus 2012). Retractor muscles, sticky club shaped tip, and accelerator muscles make up the primary components of the chameleons tongue. Jackson Chameleon tongues grow to the same length or one and a half times the length as its host chameleon. The tongue is extremely fast, a 5½” tongue can fully extend itself in 1/16 of a second. The club shaped end of the tongue is coated in saliva, which makes its prey stick to it, and has an abrasive surface. This allows for the chameleon to catch its prey out of mid air with ease. (Holland et al. 2010)

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