Colours with Kalyani- part 7

We have been discussing different aspects of nature and colour.

Today again as our city is locked down, I had a chance of seeing a chameleon. It was sitting on a Bougainville branch and blended beautifully with the browns of the bark.



In just a minute or so it climbed to a leafy branch with a lot of pink colours, the chameleon changed its palette of colours.

I was again amazed with the creations of nature and felt sad that I didn’t have my camera. 
That got me thinking about my next topic for Colours with Kalyani.

Colour-changing animals

Note- I do not yet want to go into the theory of colour as that can be explained later but to see different spectacles of colour that play in our lives. This seems like fun.

Animals from chameleons to cuttlefish can manipulate their colours to hide from predators, intimidate rivals or woo mates.

In nature, the ability to change colour can be a key to survival. Vision is a very important sense in many of the animal kingdoms, and many animals have to live up with different ways to use this sense to handle their survival. They have the powers to disappear into their surroundings or also use it to assert their mastery. When we think of colour-changing animals it is not only the chameleon but other animals too.

Golden tortoise beetle
This is a shiny insect it changes its colour from gold to black-spotted orange to even a darker spotted orange. These beetles change colour in defence and or sexual signalling.


This cephalopod is a master of camouflage. According to scientists, it can look at the surroundings, decide what colour or pattern it needs to change to, so that it’s invisible to hungry predators, like Dolphins. The pigment in its skin is so sophisticated that many researchers have compared it to high-definition TV.

Peacock Flounder 
This deep ocean dweller can change its colour in seconds which helps it to sneak up on other fish it wants to gobble for dinner. Scientists say that when it looks and the colour of the surrounding environment it’s eyes transmit a message to its brain, this releases hormones that send pigments to the surface of its skin



Sea horse
This sea-horse needs all the help they can get to avoid predators – the primary reason for their colours shifts, but that is not the only reason. They also adapt colours to hunt, communicate with fellow sea horses, and attract a mate

Pacific tree frog
The small native American west coast spends most of its time, up in the trees, blending in with the help of its colours shifts. Their choice of hues can vary depending on the background, the temperature, and the season. All of this keeps the amphibians safe from raccoons, large predatory birds, and snakes



Animals are true artists when it comes to changing their colour but how does it work and what it is for? When we as humans get excited or feel embarrassed, our faces go red. When we are ill, we often look pale. But can we change the colour of our skin whenever we like? Can we disguise ourselves by looking like a brick wall or create different coloured spots on our skin in no time at all? Animals can.

We did in our earlier discussions cover colours in nature. This then is an extension where species change colour according to situations. How colour impacts their lives. Dynamic and powerful. 

Click on the image to watch




Earlier episodes of 'Colours with Kalyani':

Part 6: How culture, symbolism and emotion plays an important part in colour psychology.

Part 5: Dyeing with Natural dyes: part 2

Part 4: Dyeing with Natural dyes: part 1

Part 3: Colours in Poetry & Literature

Part 2: Colours & birds

Part 1: Colours in nature


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