The Surprising Reason Zebras Have Stripes

The Atlantic | 2/20/2019 | Staff
AavyAavy (Posted by) Level 4
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That leaves the fly idea. When it comes to biting insects, zebras are doubly cursed. For one, they’re highly susceptible to a variety of fatal diseases, including trypanosomiasis, African horse sickness, and equine influenza, that are spread by horseflies and tsetse flies. They’re also very vulnerable to insect attacks: Compared with other grazers such as antelopes, the hairs on their coat are unusually short, allowing flies to more easily find blood vessels with their piercing mouthparts.

Stripes, for some reason, seem to help. In 2014, Caro and his colleagues showed that striped horses—three zebra species and the African wild **** with thin stripes on its legs—tend to live in regions with lots of horseflies. And several researchers, over the years, have shown that these flies find it hard to land on striped surfaces. No one, however, had watched the insects trying to bite actual zebras. That’s why Caro’s team went to Hill Livery.

Stable - Horses - Zebras - Team - Horseflies

By watching and filming the stable’s horses and zebras, the team confirmed that horseflies were much worse at alighting on the latter. The...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Atlantic
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