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Is there any way of doing this or is this information embedded into the image and therefore no way of retrieving it?
Amount of colours, transparency on or off,
You can figure that out for .gif by opening it with a decent editor.
As for .jpg just a suggestion but have you tried an advanced exif reader like exifer? Exif data can be quite extensive but I don't know if image editing applications save things like that and for the web they usually drop it all together for a smaller file size.