A new study suggests that the lines of zebras prevent them from being placed on horse flies carrying deadly diseases. In the research conducted at the University of Bristol, horses were covered with zebra pattern and monochrome covers.
The head of the research committee According to Tim Caro, there was no difference in the number of flies approaching the horses. However, it was observed that most of the flies were wobbly as they approached zebra patterned horses. Some flies also stopped being put on the horse at the last moment. Although the lines did not deter flies, the rate of placing flies on horses with zebra-patterned cover decreased by a quarter.
‘The most powerful theory’
Scientists have been seeking the answer to the question of what the lines of zebras do, since Charles Darwin’s time, for nearly 150 years. So far, different theories have been put forward.
These include adjusting the body temperature of animals, providing protection against predators and even a social function such as individual recognition.
Professor Caro says most of the biologists involved in the study agree that the only function of lines is related to flies.
African horseflies cause diseases such as Rhodesian sleeping sickness, which leads to the deaths of thousands of people each year, especially in Latin America, and African equine plague, which can be fatal by dissolving muscles.
Dr. Martin How said, “There is a really strong selection pressure on animals that will be a matter of life and death against bite.”
‘It can also protect people from flies’
“During the research, the flies were seen to attack team members wearing striped patterned clothing less than those in dark clothing,” said How, who said these results could be useful within humans.
If you’re in trouble with flies, you can try on zebra-striped clothes and linens 🙂