It’s one of those questions you get asked by your science teacher at school…
“Why do Zebras have stripes?”
Well aren’t we all conditioned to say “Camouflage!”?
But camouflage from WHAT exactly??
Hmmmm. Now scientists have found that those famous Zebra stripes might actually be ‘dazzling’ blood sucking horse flies as they come into land!
Now in the name of science…how does one find that out? Well dressing horses up as Zebras of course.
When uniformly coloured horses were dressed in ‘Zebra coats’ the flies made fewer landings on the striped areas but were not kept away from the head. The flies would often come in too fast and make a crash landing and then abort quickly!
Dr Martin How from the University of Bristol said “Stripes may dazzle the flies in some way once they are close enough to see them with their low-resolution eyes.”
Perhaps similar to when human pilots get dazzled by sunlight when attempting to land in the sun.
The scientists performed their study on a UK farm that keeps both domestic horses and Zebras (we want a Zorse!!) and suggested that the stripes reduce the chances of the Zebra being bitten by pesky flies!
Oh no….up go the sales of striped fly rugs this summer!
Have a fun ‘stripey’ day!
The BHM Team ❤️
p.s. we’re not encouraging you to go out and either paint your horse or buy stripey fly coats, natural coats are best 🙂