For years, humans have postulated and told folktales to answer the question, “Why did zebras get their stripes?” Now scientists may have an answer: pest control! While the stripes may not deter biting flies from afar, researchers found that flies failed to make controlled landings on the zebra by either failing to decelerate and bumping into the zebra, or missing the landing altogether. Those are some powerful stripes!
Sketch and fact contributed by Karli Chudeau
Source: Caro, T., Argueta, Y., Briolat, E. S., Bruggink, J., Kasprowsky, M., Lake, J., et al. (2019). Benefits of zebra stripes: Behaviour of tabanid flies around zebras and horses. PLoS ONE, 14(2): e0210831. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0210831