LONDON — Zebra stripes are dazzling — particularly to flies.
That's the conclusion of scientists from the University of Bristol and the University of California at Davis who dressed horses in black-and-white striped coats to help determine why zebras have stripes.
The researchers found that fewer horseflies landed on the cloaked horses than on the ones without striped coats, suggesting that zebra stripes may offer protection from blood-sucking insects that can spread disease.
“This reduced ability to land on the zebra's coat may be due to stripes disrupting the visual system of the horse flies during their final moments of approach,” said Martin How, a research fellow at the University of Bristol. “Stripes may dazzle flies in some way once they are close enough to see them with their low-resolution eyes.”
From a distance, the flies were equally attracted to both horses and zebras, with the same number of insects hovering around both types of animals. But when the fl..Read More