Hey Zebras, Why the Stripes? January 23, 2016Posted by geoff in News.
Speaking of nature, the latest thinking on zebra stripes is that they have nothing to do with camouflage against predators:
In open treeless habitats where zebras spend most time, zebras are as clearly identified by the lion visual system as are similar-sized ungulates, suggesting that stripes cannot confer crypsis by disrupting the zebra’s outline….In conclusion, compared to the uniform pelage of other sympatric herbivores it appears highly unlikely that stripes are a form of anti-predator camouflage.
They also doubt that it has anything to do with mating or social status in the herd. So why the stripes? Maybe it’s a defense against biting flies, which apparently prefer not to land on surfaces with stripes less than 5 cm wide (the largest average zebra strip width (found on the rump) is just under 4 cm).