Recent studies at Australia’s Melbourne University have now brought us back to square one. Although the foregoing information holds true, it seems that at least 1 species, Smith’s dwarf chameleon, Bradypodium taeniabronchum, does indeed specifically change its color to match its background when threatened. Not only that, but it also tailors the degree of change to the specific predator. When faced with a sharp-eyed predator such as a bird, the lizard’s color changes to match the stick upon which it rests perfectly. Less well-sighted animals, such as snakes, elicit a less-perfect camouflage.
It seems that color change exacts a heavy toll, physiologically, on the chameleon. This is likely the reason that it does not employ “perfect” camouflage unless forced to do so by the nature of its enemy.
Please write in with your questions and observations on the color changing ability of the chameleons you keep. Thanks, until next time, Frank