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A zebra's stripes are not for camouflage

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Scientists have played down the idea that a zebra relies on its stripes to help it hide from predators.

With its distinctive black and white stripes the zebra is one of the most recognizable animals in the world, yet the exact purpose of its monochromatic coat has remained a topic of debate for years.

Read More: http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/news/291011/a-zebras-stripes-are-not-for-camouflage

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Sundew

I thought the stripes as protection from biting flies was old news, like several years old.

Two related topics: There are now Bluebird houses you can order that are made of white molded plastic, the color seems to repel (or at least not attract) black flies which prey on the chicks and can weaken and kill them. So color can play a roll in insect attacks. I also read once that bees will more likely go after and sting someone dressed in dark clothing over someone dresses in white or light colors.

The other related topic: There was a "species" of zebra known as the Quagga which was hunted to extinction 100 years or so ago. Unlike most zebra, it had stripes only on the upper front half of the body and a brown, rather than white background color. Recent DNA testing on old skins found out it was actually a variety of the Plains Zebra, so breeders went just outside the Quagga'a former range and captured several Plains Zebra that had some of the Quagga's traits and begin line-breeding them. The results after about 5 generations are that they have come up with about 8 or so individuals that look just like the Quagga and they want to make a herd to become the nexus of more herds to replenish their former range. Purists will say these are NOT Quagga, but it is as close as you can come given they were a mere sub-species of the Plains Zebra and probably did interbreed with their more striped relatives outside their natural boundaries, so you are getting some of the DNA from the original animals, AND they seem to be thriving the Quagga's former habitat. So hopefully this is a case of man righting a wrong (as best he can) that was done to the animal kingdom.

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pallidin

Zebras tend to travel in groups I suppose.

I've noticed that the stripe pattern is specific to the individual zebra.

Could it be a way of the group to easily identify individual members, or for the offspring to identify from a distance its parents?

Perhaps there is actually more than a single reason for the stripes?

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Montmorency the Dog

of course they're not. They're bar codes, for stock control purposes.

:unsure:

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MJNYC

I thought the stripes as protection from biting flies was old news, like several years old.

Two related topics: There are now Bluebird houses you can order that are made of white molded plastic, the color seems to repel (or at least not attract) black flies which prey on the chicks and can weaken and kill them. So color can play a roll in insect attacks. I also read once that bees will more likely go after and sting someone dressed in dark clothing over someone dresses in white or light colors.

The other related topic: There was a "species" of zebra known as the Quagga which was hunted to extinction 100 years or so ago. Unlike most zebra, it had stripes only on the upper front half of the body and a brown, rather than white background color. Recent DNA testing on old skins found out it was actually a variety of the Plains Zebra, so breeders went just outside the Quagga'a former range and captured several Plains Zebra that had some of the Quagga's traits and begin line-breeding them. The results after about 5 generations are that they have come up with about 8 or so individuals that look just like the Quagga and they want to make a herd to become the nexus of more herds to replenish their former range. Purists will say these are NOT Quagga, but it is as close as you can come given they were a mere sub-species of the Plains Zebra and probably did interbreed with their more striped relatives outside their natural boundaries, so you are getting some of the DNA from the original animals, AND they seem to be thriving the Quagga's former habitat. So hopefully this is a case of man righting a wrong (as best he can) that was done to the animal kingdom.

Loved your information so did a search and found this: http://www.quaggaproject.org/

Thank you! :tu:

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Ell

Two or more people independently from one another already concluded that the function of the zebra stripes is to cool down the body.

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Sundew

Loved your information so did a search and found this: http://www.quaggaproject.org/

Thank you! :tu:

Thank you for finding the site, nice photos and it looks like they are getting closer to the look of the original animal.

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MJNYC

Thank you for finding the site, nice photos and it looks like they are getting closer to the look of the original animal.

It truly does. I was actually astounded that they were looking more brown too! They are gorgeous.

Also, they talk on the site about selling some and just hope they make sure that they are sold to good people not a canned hunt, or something similar.

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Codenwarra

Not entirely unrelated, perhaps. Science in Western Australia has given preliminary results indicating that sharks lose interest in black and white striped objects, leading to striped surfer wetsuits.

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Sundew

Not entirely unrelated, perhaps. Science in Western Australia has given preliminary results indicating that sharks lose interest in black and white striped objects, leading to striped surfer wetsuits.

https://www.ted.com/..._what_you_think

I have heard that may be because of venomous creatures like Lionfish and Sea Kraits which are banded with alternating light and dark stripes and potentially fatal to a predator.

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Montmorency the Dog

I have heard that may be because of venomous creatures like Lionfish and Sea Kraits which are banded with alternating light and dark stripes and potentially fatal to a predator.

Perhaps some interesting psychology there, we know that poisonous creatures or poisonous fruits and fungi and things tend to be red, as a deterrent to creatures that might want to eat them, so maybe Zebras have evolved this coloring so that predators will think they're poisonous! :o Genius idea.

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