Theories abound on why zebras evolved their stripes. Some say to confuse predators, others say to recognize each other (stripe patterns are unique to each animal), and yet others say they are a way to advertise an individual's health. Another theory - that the stripes repel annoying and disease-transmitting tsetse flies - has been proposed but never tested. Until now.
New research published in the Journal of Experimental Biology (click here for more information) demonstrates that horseflies, which are similar to the tsetse flies found in the zebra's natural habitats, were least attracted to the pattern of stripes of the exact width found on zebra hides. So those zebra stripes might just have evolved to repel tsetse flies after all!
Even Wild Nature Institute scientists are mercilessly hounded by tsetse flies. Maybe we should paint ourselves with black and white stripes, too?
Science News and Updates From the Field from Wild Nature Institute.
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