That’s a fly coat. A new study suggests the African herbivore’s stripes help prevent bites from disease-carrying flies, offering an alternative to refuted theories of camouflage or temperature control. Researchers observing horses in zebra costumes found flies landed on the striped pattern 25 percent less often. Video showed the insects had more uncontrolled approaches and aborted landings on zebra coats.
What’s the next level of research? Scientists will explore whether stripes mess with bugs’ optic flow and what types of patterns might deter more of them.
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