The Zebra's Stripes, A Personal No-Fly Zone
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Pinpointing the age of a mosquito is a labor of love for some. It might just equal the decades-long debate that scientists have had over just how the zebra got its stripes. Now finally, the hard work of researchers in Hungary and Sweden has paid off.
It turns out that the distinctive pattern of the animal's coat evolved specifically to keep away Africa's blood sucking flies. I don't mean to insult them. That's how they eat. The hungry bugs just aren't attracted to the sequence of polarized and unpolarized light that reflects off the zebra's black and white stripes. That's bad news for horses, though. Apparently their monotone dark hair is just what the ravenous flies are looking for.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIMON: You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.