Have Zebra Stripes Evolved to Repel Bugs?

Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

For a long time, we thought that zebra’s contrasting black-and-white stripes had one purpose – to blend with grass and avoid colorblind lions. But it seems that there’s more to their fur than the unique pattern.

In fact, there’s a convenient benefit for having such a pattern – it repels the bloodsucking horsefly.

Female horseflies feed on blood. They are attracted to polarized light, which is much better reflected by black fur than white or brown. And there’s something even better than black fur to repel horsefly – the combination of black and white fur.