iD magazine

Can zebra stripes protect us from insects?


A study by researcher­s at the University of California, Davis shows that zebra stripes can repel insects. Putting zebras and horses in adjacent fields, they compared their attractive­ness to biting insects. Both attracted horseflies at a distance, but when whey got close, the flies tended to bump into the zebras instead of landing. Striped outfits on the horses produced a similar effect. Stripes appear to work for humans as well and may explain the body painting traditions of Africa, Australia, and Southeast Asia.

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