Standing Out Chameleons stand out in many ways. Some chameleons have peculiar horns. Others have knobby noses or ruffl ed throats that make them unforgettable. Why? Because sometimes a chameleon wants to get noticed. For the most part, chameleons are loners.
Yet during mating season, males go searching for mates. Male chameleons typically have more body features than females. T ey use these to attract females, but also to fi ght off other males. T e male Jackson’s chameleon, for example,
has three giant horns—one from its snout and two above its eyes. T is chameleon looks a little like a miniature triceratops. At times, these chameleons wield their horns to joust with rivals and knock them off branches.
A Subject of Study Despite centuries of study, there’s still a lot of mystery surrounding chameleons. About 40 percent of the more than 200 known chameleon species live on Madagascar. Most of the rest live on the African continent. Yet many chameleon species are new to
science. More than 20 percent of the known species have only been identifi ed in the last 15 years. T ere’s still a lot to discover about them.
Some chameleons have horns. They can use them for jousting!
Wordwise adaptation: a behavior or body part that helps a plant or animal survive
cells: the basic building blocks of all living things
melanin: a pigment that darkens skin
nanocrystal: colorless crystals that refl ect different amounts of light
pigment: a material that changes the color of refl ected or transmitted light
This chameleon dozes while clinging to a branch.
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