For a very long time, scientists believed the black and white stripes of a zebra acts as a camouflage from predators’ eyes.
However, a new report published early this year by the Royal Society Journal (RSJ) found that the black and white stripes of zebras help in deterring horseflies from biting them.
According to phys.org, zebras get bitten less than animals that have a single fur color.
To prove this and test their theory, researchers in Hungary used three shop mannequins in different skin colors – dark skin, lighter skin and a dark-skinned mannequin that they painted with white stripes, all of which are coated with a thin layer of adhesive tape to see the captures flies.
The three mannequins were placed in the middle of the meadow for eight weeks during the summer.
“The dark-skinned mannequin was 10 times more attractive to horseflies that the striped model and twice attractive than the light-skinned dummy,” said the report for phys.org.
Daily Mail reported that the stripes made it harder for the horseflies to see their target.
The researchers also linked the stripes to some of the natives’ body paintings – noting that the stripes on humans’ bodies also provided protection from the harmful insect bites.
“White-stripes body paintings, such as those used by African and Australian people, may serve to deter horseflies, which is an advantageous byproduct of these body paintings that could lead to reduced irritation and disease transmission by these blood sucking insects,” added the researchers from RSJ.