JUN 20, 2016 11:18 AM PDT

Bearded Dragons Can Change the Color of Their Bodies on Demand

Bearded dragons are reptiles that love heat. It’s no doubt that they thrive in desert-like conditions, but they’ve also been known to lurk in wooded areas, near shorelines, and even in scrubland-like areas. But one of the features of a bearded dragon that isn’t totally understood is the why their bodies change colors.
Bearded dragons can change the color of various parts of their bodies depending on the conditions.

 Image Credit: Beardedragon.org

As a part of a research project, Kathleen Smith of the University of Melbourne studied bearded dragons and aimed to find out just why they do change colors.
The findings reveal that there are two main reasons for why a bearded dragon will change color. One is that they use the feature as a means of communicating with other bearded dragons and reptiles, and the other is a way for the reptile to regulate its body temperature.
The study involves 12 wild-caught male bearded dragons that were subjected to various conditions to learn more about the color-changing aspects of bearded dragons. The findings were published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Observed in the bearded dragons, as they were subjected to different social conditions, were that one of these creatures may change the color of their neck and head to express communicative qualities with another of its own species.
Particularly important in this part of the research was mating, in which the animals would darken their neck and upper chest to reveal their dominant qualities for mating.
The research also subjected the bearded dragons to different temperature conditions between 60-104º Fahrenheit, which simulate the same temperatures they would experience in the wild. The findings in this department revealed that bearded dragons would change the colors of their backs to better regulate their body heat.
In cooler conditions, a bearded dragon may appear darker, but in warmer conditions, a bearded dragon will appear lighter. They reportedly have the ability to change their body color on demand very rapidly, as it appears to be a survival technique.
When the lizard is cold, the darker colors allow for more of the Sun’s heat to be absorbed, while on the contrary, the lighter color in warmer conditions, absorbs less heat from the Sun and prevents the animal from overheating.
In what appears to be a very versatile feature of bearded dragons for a variety of natural conditions, the ability to rapidly change their own color is a necessary part of the species’ survival instinct that they’ve evolved to use over time.
Bearded dragons aren’t the only lizard species that can change their color; it appears to be widespread across the spectrum of lizard species.
Source: EurekAlert
About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
SEP 15, 2019
Plants & Animals
SEP 15, 2019
Watch Animal Experts As They Tend to a Malnourished Juvenile Hawk
After a woman reported an oddly-behaving hawk in her yard, the New Hampshire Fish and Game department responded to the call. Upon coming in contact with th...
SEP 15, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
SEP 15, 2019
A Plant Gene can Help Fight Climate Change
Plants use their roots to collect essential nutrients. We may one day be able to use those roots to store carbon underground....
SEP 15, 2019
Plants & Animals
SEP 15, 2019
Rain Can Be a Hummingbird's Worst Nightmare
Hummingbirds are captivating animals, not only because of their incredibly fast wingbeats, but also because they have one of the highest-known metabolisms...
SEP 15, 2019
Plants & Animals
SEP 15, 2019
Watch This Dive Team Collect a Blood Sample From a Captive Whale Shark
Getting a blood sample from a massive whale shark can be particularly challenging and would typically require administering an anesthetic to put the animal...
SEP 15, 2019
SEP 15, 2019
A Canine Cancer That Began to Spread From One Dog About 6,000 Years Ago
Dogs can get different kinds of cancers, including one that is transmitted by live cancer cells, which spread through sexual contact....
SEP 15, 2019
Health & Medicine
SEP 15, 2019
Gene Linked To Cannabis Abuse
Research shows that there may be a specific gene associated with a higher risk of cannabis abuse. The same gene is responsible for the so-called nicotine r...
Loading Comments...