Revealed! Why Zebras have black and white stripes on body
New Delhi : Ever wondered why Zebras have black and white stripes on their body? Well, this has remained an unanswered question for a long time. But, now researchers have claimed that they have found an answer.
According to experiments by the researchers, flies find it difficult to land on bodies with colour stripes. In one experiment, they covered a horse with stripe pattern cloth and observed that fewer flies landed on them than when the same horses wore single-colour coats.
"We showed that horse flies approach zebras and uniformly coloured horses at similar rates but that they fail to land on zebras - or striped horse coats - because they fail to decelerate properly, and so fly past them or literally bump into them and bounce off," said behavioural ecologist Tim Caro of the University of California-Davis, lead author of the research published in the journal PLOS ONE.
"Most biologists involved with research on mammal colouration accept that this is the reason that zebras have stripes."
Stripes did not deter flies from a distance, as they circled horses and zebras at similar rates. But the flies managed to land on zebras less than a quarter as often.
University of Bristol biologist and study co-author Martin How said that stripes may dazzle flies somehow once the insects venture close enough to see them with their low-resolution eyes.
"In addition to stripes that prevent controlled landings by horse flies, zebras are constantly swishing their tail and may run off if horse flies do land successfully, so they are also using behavioural means to prevent flies probing for blood," Caro said.