Sunday, 26 May, 2019

Scientists have come up with another explanation for why zebras have stripes

Horse dressed in a striped coat in order to resemble a zebra. Credit Tim Caro  UC Davis Horse dressed in a striped coat in order to resemble a zebra. Credit Tim Caro UC Davis
Sandra Phillips | 23 February, 2019, 20:40

The study was based around horse flies, which shows the blood-sucking parasites failing to slow down when they get near to zebras due to them being dazzled by the stripes, meaning they can not land on the equine.

Specialists conducted a series of experiments that refute the two most common theories about the necessity of bands of zebras.

Horse flies are a broad issue for local creatures so mitigating strategies, for example, the improvement of hostile to fly wear meant to look like zebra stripes, may, from this examination, be a fascinating result for creature wellbeing and prosperity.

Study leader Professor Tim Caro, from the University of California at Davis, said: "This indicates that stripes may disrupt the flies" abilities to have a controlled landing'.

They found that horse flies gathered around domestic horses and zebras at a similar rate - but landed on zebras a quarter as often.

Stripes are fashionable on humans, but it turns out the pattern serves a greater goal for zebras: pest control.

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The assumption is that the stripes somehow "dazzle flies" when they are close enough to see the stripes with low-resolution eyes.

Horse-flies are an annoying and widespread problem for domestic animals, but researchers believe this problem could be solved with anti-fly coats which resemble zebra stripes.

Researcher investigate how horseflies behave around horses with "zebra coats" for an an experiment led by UC Davis focused on why zebra stripes are so good at warding off flies. However, their analysis also showed differences in flies' approach speeds between horses and zebras. When horses wore coats with striped patterns, there were fewer horse-fly landings than when they didn't wear stripes. (2019) Benefits of zebra stripes: Behaviour of tabanid flies around zebras and horses. Zebras swish their tails nearly continuously during the day to keep flies off, stop eating when flies bother them, and run away if the flies are particularly persistent.

The evolution of the zebra's two-tone coat has intrigued scientists for over 150 years.

African horse flies carry diseases such as trypanosomiasis (which cause fever, headaches, joint pains and itching and can later on include behavioural changes, confusion and poor coordination) and African horse sickness that causes wasting. Zebras exhibited preventative behaviour, such as running away and tail swishing at a far higher rate than horses.

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