Predator-specific camouflage in chameleons

Devi Stuart-Fox*, Adnan Moussalli, Martin J. Whiting

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

90 Citations (Scopus)


A crucial problem for most animals is how to deal with multiple types of predator, which differ in their sensory capabilities and methods of prey detection. For animals capable of rapid colour change, one potential strategy is to change their appearance in relation to the threat posed by different predators. Here, we show that the dwarf chameleon, Bradypodion taeniabronchum, exhibits different colour responses to two predators that differ in their visual capabilities. Using a model of animal colour perception to gain a 'predator's eye view', we show that chameleons showed better background colour matching in response to birds than snakes, yet they appear significantly more camouflaged to the snake visual system because snakes have poorer colour discrimination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-329
Number of pages4
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes

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