Claremont, Calif. (August 24, 2012) — Pitzer College alumnus Matthew Ward ’11 and Professor of Biology Marion Preest of Pitzer’s W. M. Keck Science Department presented research about the way some chameleons attract their prey. The presentation, “Chemical Prey Luring in Jackson’s Chameleons: Time’s Fun When You’re Having Flies,” was made at the 7th World Congress of Herpetology in Vancouver, Canada on August 8-14, 2012.
The poster presentation, co-authored with colleagues Thomas Poon, senior associate dean of faculty and professor of chemistry at Pitzer College, and John Hermanson, associate professor of biomedical sciences at Cornell University, included research Ward did for his senior thesis at Pitzer. In their talk, the authors described a pouch in the corner of the mouth of Jackson’s chameleons that contains a “foul-smelling, viscous substance” that the chameleons wipe on branches. The substance attracts insects, which then become a meal for the chameleons. Chemical analysis indicates that some of the chemicals in the substance are identical to those found in certain insect pheromones. Histological work to determine the source of the substance is ongoing. Ward’s attendance at the World Congress was made possible by support from David Hansen, dean of W.M. Keck Science Department.
Matthew Ward received a degree in biology and minor in art from Pitzer College.
The W.M. Keck Science Department is a program of Claremont McKenna College, Pitzer College and Scripps College.
About the W.M. Keck Science Department
The W.M. Keck Science Department is the interdisciplinary home to all biology, chemistry, and physics faculty for Pitzer, Claremont McKenna and Scripps colleges. The department is administered cooperatively and is housed within an 81,000-square-foot center located at the intersection of the three colleges. The department offers 13 discrete degree options, including dual-degree programs in partnership with schools of engineering and majors in conjunction with disciplines outside the sciences. The W.M. Keck Science Department provides comprehensive, interdisciplinary instruction in small class settings and numerous opportunities for students to conduct research.