Rabu, 15 Februari 2017

Color Changing Animals

The most famous celebrity in the 'camouflage' world.
(Credit: Michel C Milinkovitch)
The ability of some animals that can change their colors whether in dealing with danger or under certain circumstances always catches our intentions. This will helps us to understand more about the nature and even something that can benefits us in the future.

In fact there are many species of animals that has this ability from different groups of families – perhaps some animals more popular than the other. Apart from just changing colors, animal such as cuttlefish (cephalopods) go beyond by changing their physical too. Let us take a closer looks the colors changes behavior across different animals.

The speed of the color changes in these animals are different from few seconds to few weeks; cephalopods family known as the fastest color changer in the animal kingdom. While chameleon will take longer time to change their color. In contrast animals such as ‘ptarmigan’ or ‘snowshoe hare’ will change their colors according to the seasons – with the cycle of the four seasons.

Thus changing colors and physical skills is one of the important characteristics possessed by many living things on earth. Even with different method, the act of converting this physical appearance is an important skill in life, especially for small and medium sized animals to help them to obtain food and avoiding enemies.

Here are few types of animals that can change color;

Chameleons – there are many types of chameleons that can live in the warm areas of Africa, Madagascar, South Europe, and South Africa to Sri Lanka. It varies with the species of small lizard that also can change their colors that know as ‘anoles’ – but in some countries peoples mistakenly thought them as chameleons.

Squid – squid together with the large families of cephalopod species; including octopus, squid and cuttlefish, changing color and resemble the surrounding environment are their specialist. The changes will take effect in very short time with stunning result. Cephalopods use these capabilities for hunting, camouflage and also for interaction between them.

Squid is the most skilled animal for changing color and physical.
Fish – there are types of fishes too that can change their color such as flounder and fish from group of ‘Acanthuridae’ that inhabit the coral reefs. Flounder hunt in shallow water and the ability to their change colors not just help them to hunt but actually to save them from their main predator; an eagles. 

Fish 'flounder' with similar environments.

Bird – not many birds can change their colors but ptarmigan will change their colors according to the seasons. Since ptarmigan not a migrating bird like most other species of birds, adaptation to their environment is very important. The different changes in their surrounding make them easy target for enemies if their colors not change.

Mammals – for some mammals such as snowshoe hare, Alaskan hare, Arctic hare and stoat change their colors as well as ptarmigan to resemble their environment of white winter. This change make is easier for them to hide from the enemies.

Snowshoe hare
Snowshoe hare in winter.
Amphibians – some frogs also have the ability to change colors and the most known is the gray tree frog. Unlike any other frogs, the gray tree frog spent their time on the trees. It will be easier for them to be seen if their colors different from their surroundings.

Insects – apart from the animals mentioned above insects are also having the ability to change their colors. There are several species of spiders and beetles that can change their colors. Insect such as golden tortoise beetle can change their color according to the seasons or when disturbed.

Golden tortoise beetle
The variety of colors 'golden tortoise beetle'.

So now we know there are many animals and insects that capable to change their colors and physicals for various purposes. If previously you only knew some of these animals know we know there are many of them that have these abilities in a wider scope. Although chameleon is the most popular in the world of changing colors, cephalopods families are still the champion in this competition.

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