Scientists solve the riddle of zebras’ stripes

Posted: 06.25.2014

Why zebras have black and white stripes is a question that has intrigued scientists and spectators for centuries. A research team led by the University of California, Davis, has now examined this riddle systematically. Their answer is published today, April 1, in the online journal Nature Communications.

The scientists found that biting flies, including horseflies and tsetse flies, are the evolutionary driver for zebra stripes. Experimental work had previously shown that such flies tend to avoid black-and-white striped surfaces, but many hypotheses for zebra stripes have been proposed since Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin debated the problem 120 years ago.

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