How The Zebra Got Its Stripes
Zebra Stripes Evolved to Keep Flies Away
The Zebra's Stripes: A Personal No-Fly Zone
HowStuffWorks: Are zebras black with white stripes or white with black stripes?
Zebras, Zebra Pictures, Zebra Facts
Natural History Notebooks: Zebras
The question of why zebras have stripes has fascinated animal biologists, literary types, and others for millennia. Some used to think that the stripes were a form of camouflage, a theory criticized by Charles Darwin due to the fact that zebras prefer open savannahs, rather than heavily forested areas. A new study performed by an international team of researchers suggests that the zebra's stripes are actually an advanced form of fly repellent. Leading a team of colleagues, Dr. Gabor Horvath of Eotvos University in Budapest conducted a series of studies with horse-shaped models, some of which were painted uniformly dark, some painted uniformly white, and some with stripes of various widths. They were looking to see if horseflies would prefer a certain object, and as it turns out, the least attractive of these items were the ones with the stripes that most closely resembled those found on zebra hides. The reasons for this selection remain unclear, but Horvath has speculated that it might be due to the fact that horseflies have a difficult time seeing polarized light. As such, the horseflies might confuse the small animals, and make it difficult to see the zebras.
The first link will take users to a piece on this recent discovery by Emily Sohn, writing for Discovery News. The second link leads users to another piece from last Friday's International Business Times on the subject. Moving along, the third link will whisk users away to a short radio piece from NPR's Weekend Edition about this latest experiment into the world of the zebra's stripes. The fourth link leads to a fun article from HowStuffWorks about the color of zebras. The fifth link gives interested parties the ability to browse through many fabulous photos of zebras, courtesy of National Geographic. The last link will take visitors to a wonderful site about zebras from the Canadian Museum of Nature.
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