The typical coloration for a Carolina anole ranges from the richest and brightest of greens to the darkest of browns, with little variation in between. The color spectrum is a result of three layers of pigment cells or chromatophores: the xanthophores, responsible for the yellow pigmentation; cyanophores, responsible for the blue pigmentation, and melanophores, responsible for the brown and black pigmentation. The anole changes its color depending on mood, level of stress, activity level and as a social signal (for example, displaying dominance). Although often claimed, evidence does not support that they do it in response to the color of the background (camouflage). Whether they do it in response to temperature (thermoregulation) is less clear, with studies both supporting it and contradicting it. Changing color while under a sharply contrasting shadow can cause a "stencil effect", where the outline of the shadow is temporarily imprinted in the animal's coloration (see image in gallery, below). When stressedâwhile fighting, for exampleâthe skin immediately behind the lizard's eyes may turn black independently from the rest of the animal's coloration, forming "postocular spots. "
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