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CCSS: 6.RP.A.3.B

TEKS: 6.4B, 6.4D

Zebra Style

Courtesy of Tim Caro/UC Davis (horse); (fly)

Why do zebras have stripes? Some scientists think stripes confuse predators. Others think the pattern keeps zebras cool. Another theory is that stripes keep bugs away. Wildlife biologist Tim Caro designed an experiment to find out.

Caro and his team observed flies landing on three zebras and nine horses. When a fly flew close to a solid-colored horse, it slowed down and extended its legs. On zebras, the fly flew past it or bounced off.

They also had seven horses take turns wearing all-black, all-white, or zebra-print costumes. The scientists found that flies landed more often on the solid-color costumes than on the zebra-print ones. Next up: Testing other patterns, like spots.

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