Send to

Choose Destination
Physiol Biochem Zool. 2003 Jan-Feb;76(1):52-9.

Do panther chameleons bask to regulate endogenous vitamin D3 production?

Author information

Department of Biology, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX 76129, USA.


Basking by ectothermic vertebrates is thought to have evolved for thermoregulation. However, another beneficial effect of sunlight exposure, specifically the ultraviolet B (UV-B) component, includes endogenous production of vitamin D(3). In the laboratory, panther chameleons exhibited a positive phototaxis to greater visible, ultraviolet A (UV-A) and UV-B light. However, with equivalent high irradiances of UV-A or UV-B, their response to UV-B was significantly greater than it was to UV-A. Exposure of in vitro skin patches of panther chameleons to high UV-B (90 microW/cm(2)) for 1 h significantly enhanced vitamin D(3) concentration. Voluntary exposure to higher UV-B irradiance (70 vs. 1 microW/cm(2)) resulted in greater circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3) in female panther chameleons (604 vs. 92 ng/mL). Depending on dietary intake of vitamin D(3), chameleons adjusted their exposure time to UV-B irradiation as if regulating their endogenous production of this vital hormone. When dietary intake was low (1-3 IU/g), they exposed themselves to significantly more UV-producing light; when intake was high (9-129 IU/g), they exposed themselves to less. Vitamin D(3) photoregulation seems to be an important additional component of the function of basking.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for University of Chicago Press
Loading ...
Support Center