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[Animal mystery] Why do zebras have patterns?

Animal

Zebras are striped horses native to Africa. There are three strains of zebras: Greater zebra, savanna zebra, and mountain zebra. All zebras are different, but why do they have stripes? And what benefits do these stripes have for zebras?

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zebra

The zebra is an animal belonging to the genus Equidae of the family Equidae of the Mammalia order. Zebras are characterized by their black and white pattern, large ears, and tufted tails, making them very similar to donkeys. The call is also very similar to that of a donkey. Although zebras have a rough temperament, they were domesticated by humans and domesticated around the 18th and 19th centuries, when Europeans had colonies in Africa. However, on the other hand, they often died from new diseases brought by Europeans, but they have become able to adapt and continue to this day. However, zebras have a rough temperament compared to other animals, so it is said that it is difficult to keep them unless you are familiar with them. Compared to horses, zebras are smaller and have a weaker back skeleton, making it difficult for people to ride and carry heavy loads. Zebras have the least.

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taxonomy and phylogeny

There are three main species of zebra.

grevy zebra

It is the largest species of zebra. This zebra lives mainly in East Africa and can be seen in large numbers in Ethiopia and Somalia. The most distinctive feature of this zebra is its delicate striped pattern, which is much finer than other zebras.

savannah zebra

This zebra also lives mainly in eastern Africa. There are five more subspecies of this zebra, including the Grant’s zebra and the Burchell’s savannah’s zebra. Burchell’s savanna zebras were thought to be extinct in the early 1900s, but were rediscovered in 2004.

mountain zebra

A subspecies of zebra that lives in southern Africa. There are subspecies called Cape mountain zebra and Hartmann mountain zebra, which live in mountainous areas. Zebras are common in eastern Africa, but this zebra lives in southern Africa.

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Why Zebras Have Stripes

The real question is, why do zebras have patterns? In 2015, an animal research team looked at 16 widespread zebra herds in several parts of the African continent and analyzed their striping patterns. As a result, it turned out that there seems to be some relationship between temperature and stripes. Zebras living in warmer climates had more stripes. There is a difference in air flow between the black line and the white line, creating small air vortices that keep the zebra’s skin from getting too hot.

Furthermore, we found that the striped pattern has the effect of making it difficult for blood-sucking flies to stay on the body. The pattern is said to help prevent illness. In the past, it was said that the effect of the zebra’s stripes was to make it difficult for predators to identify individual animals for hunting, but no clear conclusion has been drawn to the existence of stripes. When mammals other than primates see the black and white pattern of zebras from a distance, it is difficult to distinguish between the patterns of the grassland, but it seems that this is the reason for the striped pattern.

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