What Lizards Change Colors Besides Chameleons?

Lizards are fascinating creatures that can change color for a variety of reasons. While chameleons are the most well-known for their color-changing abilities, there are actually several other types of lizards that can also change their hues.

From the desert-dwelling horned lizard to the tropical anole, these lizards have developed color-changing abilities for camouflage, communication, and temperature regulation. Let’s dive into the world of color-changing lizards and discover the unique adaptations that allow them to blend into their environments.

What Lizards Change Colors Besides Chameleons?

What Lizards Change Colors Besides Chameleons?

The ability of chameleons to change colors according to their surroundings is fascinating. However, they are not the only lizards that can modify their appearance. Several other lizards can change their colors, and for different reasons. Here are some of the lizards that can change colors besides chameleons.

1. Anoles

Anoles are a type of lizard that can change their colors. They are found in the Caribbean islands, and some parts of the southeastern United States. Anoles change their colors as a form of communication. Male anoles, for instance, change their colors to attract females or to intimidate other males.

Anoles have a unique way of changing their colors. They have pigments under their skin that they can manipulate to produce different colors. The pigments come in different colors, including red, yellow, green, and brown. Anoles can change their colors by expanding or contracting their skin to reveal or conceal the pigments.

2. Green Basilisk

The green basilisk is also known as the “Jesus Christ lizard” because of its ability to run on water. However, it can also change its colors. The green basilisk changes its colors to regulate its body temperature. When it is hot, it becomes darker to absorb more heat. When it is cold, it becomes lighter to reflect more heat.

The green basilisk has chromatophores, which are cells that contain pigments. The chromatophores allow the lizard to change its colors by expanding or contracting the cells. The green basilisk can change its colors from green to brown, or vice versa.

3. Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons are popular pets because of their docile nature. They are also known for their ability to change their colors. Bearded dragons change their colors to communicate with other dragons, regulate their body temperature, and to blend in with their surroundings.

Bearded dragons have chromatophores that allow them to change their colors. They can change their colors from light to dark, or from brown to yellow. They can also change the color of their beards to signal aggression or submission.

4. Panther Chameleon

The panther chameleon is a cousin to the more famous chameleon. It is found in Madagascar and can change its colors like its cousin. However, the panther chameleon changes its colors for different reasons. It changes its colors to attract a mate, to communicate with other chameleons, and to blend in with its surroundings.

The panther chameleon has chromatophores that allow it to change its colors. It can change its colors from green to yellow, or from green to red. The panther chameleon can also change the color of its stripes and spots.

5. Uromastyx Lizard

Uromastyx lizards are found in North Africa and the Middle East. They are known for their spiny tails and their ability to change their colors. Uromastyx lizards change their colors to regulate their body temperature. When it is hot, they become lighter to reflect more heat. When it is cold, they become darker to absorb more heat.

Uromastyx lizards have chromatophores that allow them to change their colors. They can change their colors from yellow to black, or from brown to green. Uromastyx lizards can also change the color of their tails.

6. Frilled Lizard

Frilled lizards are found in Australia and New Guinea. They are known for their frills, which they use to intimidate predators and attract mates. Frilled lizards can also change their colors. They change their colors to communicate with other lizards and to blend in with their surroundings.

Frilled lizards have chromatophores that allow them to change their colors. They can change their colors from green to brown, or from green to yellow. They can also change the color of their frills.

7. Fence Lizard

Fence lizards are found in the southeastern United States. They are known for their ability to change their colors. Fence lizards change their colors to communicate with other lizards and to blend in with their surroundings.

Fence lizards have chromatophores that allow them to change their colors. They can change their colors from brown to gray, or from brown to green. Fence lizards can also change the color of their throats.

8. Blue-Tailed Skink

Blue-tailed skinks are found in North America and Europe. They are known for their blue tails and their ability to change their colors. Blue-tailed skinks change their colors to communicate with other skinks and to blend in with their surroundings.

Blue-tailed skinks have chromatophores that allow them to change their colors. They can change their colors from brown to green, or from brown to gray. Blue-tailed skinks can also change the color of their tails.

9. Horned Lizard

Horned lizards are found in North and Central America. They are known for their spiny bodies and their ability to change their colors. Horned lizards change their colors to communicate with other lizards and to blend in with their surroundings.

Horned lizards have chromatophores that allow them to change their colors. They can change their colors from brown to gray, or from brown to green. Horned lizards can also change the color of their spines.

10. Gecko

Geckos are found all over the world. They are known for their ability to climb walls and ceilings. Geckos can also change their colors. They change their colors to communicate with other geckos and to blend in with their surroundings.

Geckos have chromatophores that allow them to change their colors. They can change their colors from brown to green, or from brown to yellow. Geckos can also change the color of their spots.

In conclusion, chameleons are not the only lizards that can change their colors. Several other lizards can change their colors for different reasons, including communication, temperature regulation, and camouflage. Understanding how lizards change their colors can help us appreciate their unique adaptations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions related to lizards that change colors besides chameleons:

What are some types of lizards that change colors besides chameleons?

While chameleons are the most well-known lizards for their color-changing abilities, there are several other types of lizards that also have this unique adaptation. One example is the anole lizard, which can change colors from green to brown to blend in with its surroundings. Another is the bearded dragon, which can change colors to regulate its body temperature.

These lizards change colors by manipulating the pigments in their skin cells. By expanding or contracting the cells, they can change the amount of light that is absorbed or reflected, creating a range of colors and patterns.

Why do lizards change colors?

Lizards change colors for a variety of reasons. One is to regulate their body temperature. By changing color, they can absorb or reflect more heat from the sun, helping them to stay cool or warm up. Another reason is for camouflage. By blending in with their surroundings, lizards can avoid detection from predators or prey.

Some lizards also change colors as a form of communication. For example, male anole lizards may display bright colors to attract a mate, while others may change colors to signal aggression or submission to other lizards.

Do all lizards change colors throughout their lives?

No, not all lizards change colors throughout their lives. Some species, like the iguana, are born with a certain color pattern and maintain it throughout their lives. Others, like the chameleon, can change colors throughout their lives as a means of adapting to their environment.

However, even within species that do change colors, not all individuals may have the same ability. Factors like age, gender, and health can all influence a lizard’s ability to change colors.

Can lizards change colors based on their mood?

While some people believe that lizards change colors based on their mood, this is actually a myth. Lizards change colors for more practical reasons, like regulating their body temperature or blending in with their surroundings.

However, some lizards may display certain color patterns or behaviors that can indicate their mood or level of stress. For example, an anole lizard may display a bright red dewlap when it is feeling threatened or aggressive.

Are there any dangers to lizards that change colors?

While changing colors can be a useful adaptation for lizards, it can also make them more visible to predators. For example, a lizard that changes from green to brown on a bright blue background may actually stand out more than if it had stayed green.

Additionally, some lizards that change colors may be more prone to stress or other health issues. For example, a lizard that is constantly changing colors to adapt to its environment may experience more wear and tear on its skin cells, potentially leading to skin problems or infections.

Chameleon Changing Color – Best Of Chameleons Changing Colors Compilation


In conclusion, while chameleons are the most well-known lizards for their color-changing abilities, they are not the only ones. Some other lizards that change colors include anoles, geckos, and iguanas. These lizards change colors for various reasons, such as temperature regulation, camouflage, and communication.

Furthermore, it’s fascinating how these lizards can change their skin color in a matter of seconds, blending in perfectly with their surroundings. Their ability to change colors is an impressive adaptation that helps them survive in their environment. It’s a reminder of how incredible and diverse the animal kingdom is.

In summary, while chameleons may be the most famous color-changing lizards, there are other species with this remarkable ability. Learning more about these lizards and their color-changing abilities can help deepen our appreciation for these fascinating creatures and the natural world around us.