Rapid, reversible colour change is unusual in animals, but is a feature of male chameleon grasshoppers (Kosciuscola tristis). Understanding what triggers this colour change is paramount to developing hypotheses explaining its evolutionary significance. In a series of manipulative experiments the author quantified the effects of temperature, and time of day, as well as internal body temperature, on the colour of male K. tristis. The results suggest that male chameleon grasshoppers change colour primarily in response to temperature and that the rate of colour change varies considerably, with the change from black to turquoise occurring up to 10 times faster than the reverse. Body temperature changed quickly (within 10. min) in response to changes in ambient temperature, but colour change did not match this speed and thus colour is decoupled from internal temperature. This indicates that male colour change is driven primarily by ambient temperature but that their colour does not necessarily reflect current internal temperature. I propose several functional hypotheses for male colour change in K. tristis.
- Colour change
- Temperature-controlled colour change