How Zebra got its stripes.

Zebra’s stripes stave off blood-sucking insects.

‘We conclude that zebras have evolved a coat pattern in which the stripes are narrow enough to ensure minimum attractiveness to tabanid flies’, says the team and they add, ‘The selection pressure for striped coat patterns as a response to blood-sucking dipteran parasites is probably high in this region [Africa]’.

Link from journal of expermental biology.


Anthony Zerbe has stripes?

That’s pretty interesting!

REad it on the BBC, where an expert was saying it’s far from conclusive

Fixed typo in thread title, rendering CalMeacham’s joke nonsensical. Sorry, Cal!


That’s OK, most people don’t notice anyway.
For those playing at home, the original title spelled it “Zerbra”

Zebra’d the Greek.

I heard one of the study authors interviewed on NPR today.

Then it should follow that zebras and dark-colored animals have significantly fewer illnesses and diseases from horseflies and related insects, right? That never came up, so I remain unconvinced.

Just so, and how did the camel get its hump? the leopard his spots? :wink:

How the leopard got his spots.

Somebody roofied its dram o’dairy.

Adam was walking through some thickets in the Garden of Eden. He parted some vegetation and saw a large jungle cat. When he got home, Eve asked him about his day. He told her he spotted a leopard.

They got those things Just So of course!
Surely I can’t be the first to note the Kipling reference. (ETA: I mean, the first after Chela, who obviously got it.)
(Or am I just being a d00f for being the first to say so?)

[sup]It must be 45 years since I read those stories![/sup]

[sup](Did Kipling have anything to say about Zebras? Or Anthony Zerbe?)[/sup]

I thought that would apply to the zebra stripes as well, but thanks, I learned something today.

This new research on Zebras is very surprising.Whether the" flies" theory gets wider acceptance from other scientists is an open question.

Yes, I’m not so sure I’d accept developing stripes on myself just to get away from mosquitos even though I truly hate them bastards… but then I’d think mosquitos probably would require different pattern… :dubious: :wink:

I got my stripes during the Campaign at Carthage. I was a lowly corporal but command feel to me when the Lt. was taken down by a sniper. I held the hill for 36 hours without relief against a numerically superior force and was promoted to Sargent.
That’s how I got my stripes.

You know that personal anecdote does not count as citation in SDMB, don’t you?:wink:

Some further research supports this hypothesis. “We observed that stripped species have a great degree of geographical range overlap with biting flies,” Cato told the Monitor. And “conversely, there is no consistent support for camouflage, predator avoidance, heat management or social interaction hypotheses,”

I’d have thought the biting flies would be winning the evolutionary arms race though, just because they have shorter generation times than zebras and larger brood sizes - e.g. many more opportunities to adapt than the zebras do.