Saturday, February 25, 2012

Study: Zebra Stripes Deter Horseflies - Full Article

by: Christa Lesté-Lasserre
February 22 2012, Article # 19643

Zebra stripes might soon be the new hot fashion in summer equine wear. Printed on rugs and sheets, ear covers, and leg wraps, it could be attractive to everyone.

Everyone, that is, except horseflies.

That's because, according to a recent study by Hungarian and Swedish researchers, horseflies--known to scientists as tabanids--find zebra stripes incredibly unappealing. And the thinner and more numerous the stripes, the more the flies are deterred from landing on the animal.

"We conclude that zebras have evolved a coat pattern in which the stripes are narrow enough to ensure a minimum attractiveness to tabanid flies," said Gabor Horvath, PhD, researcher at the Environmental Optics Laboratory in the Department of Biological Physics at Eotvos University, in Budapest, and chief author of the study.

This finding could be particularly beneficial for owners of black or brown horses...

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