Photo of A giant chameleon climbing up the side of the building in Bozeman, Montana

Weekly Gem #206 Getting to know Hue ...

Published 8/11/2019

... Getting to know all about Hue.

Location: This weekly gem is located on Main Street in Bozeman, MT ... we'll see if you can find him (see the Clue Me! Map).

It’s common knowledge that chameleons change their skin color to match their surroundings. Agreed? Well, in this case, common knowledge is false! In fact, somebody who has a pet chameleon (let's call ours..."Hue") will know that its skin color is a reflection of its mood.

A chameleon has several layers of skin containing specialized cells called chromatophores. These are clearly visible under the lizard's transparent scales. The chromatophores of each skin layer contain different pigments. The deepest layer has brown pigment, the same pigment that shades human skin. The next layer has blue, then come yellow and red. A change in body temperature or mood will cause the nervous system to trigger certain chromatophores and voila! Hue changes hue! And how handy for him to have the primary colors at his disposal – he can become any color on the rainbow.

Hue's relaxed state helps him blend in. When he is calm, the blue and yellow pigments activate, and he becomes green - great for hiding among leaves. When Hue sees a possible partner or a threat, other colors kick in that make him appear larger, more powerful, or more enticing to a prospective mate.

As it turns out, rather than being in disguise, chameleons present the ultimate in informative body language.


Here's the hidden gem entry from our Clue Me! map.


You can't see me. I'm just another brick.


A giant chameleon climbing up the side of the building.

Why It's Interesting

This metal sculpture by artist, Dana Kuglin, is made from reconstituted materials. The artist graduated from MSU in 1990 with a BFA in graphic design.

Related Gems