Don't miss the latest stories
Cows Are Being Painted With Stripes To Mimic A Survival Trait Of Zebras
By Mikelle Leow, 10 Oct 2019
Image via Kojima T., Oishi K.,. Katsutoshi K., Uchiyama Y., Fukushima Y., Aoki N, et al.
Cows in Japan are adorably dressing up as zebras, and it’s not because it’s the month of Halloween. Scientists have discovered that by painting zebra-like stripes on cattle, there’ll be less need for pesticides around livestock.
According to a study published in scientific journal PLoS One, the researchers considered studies on zebras that suggested the creatures have black and white stripes to ward off biting flies, and decided to adorn cows’ coats with similar markings to see if the evolutionary trait works on them too.
In Africa, the lives of zebras are threatened by flies, and when bitten, they can catch deadly diseases. Their striped coats, which confuse the flies, are therefore believed to be crucial to their survival.
While fly bites on cows probably aren’t as fatal, the animals could develop behaviors like foot stamping and head throwing to shake off the insects. As a result, they might get injured or develop heat stress. The attacks also purportedly cost the livestock industry billions of dollars each year.
The research details that flies are less likely to perch on black and white surfaces as the polarization of light confuses them.
Using zebras as a model, the team painted black and white stripes on cattle, and discovered that the patterned bovines had 50-percent less fly bites than cows with full black coats.
The team concludes that painting zebra-like stripes on livestock “improves animal welfare and human health” as pesticides might no longer be required, “in addition to helping resolve the problem of pesticide resistance in the environment.”
[via HuffPost, cover image via Kojima T., Oishi K.,. Katsutoshi K., Uchiyama Y., Fukushima Y., Aoki N, et al.]
More related news
Also check out these recent news