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Scientists Painted Cows Like Zebras To Confuse Flies And It Worked

A recent study has confused a number of observers because the approach taken by the team of scientists is actually startling. The researchers painted a group of Japanese Black cows with white zebra stripes.

The aim of the study, as it turns out, was to observe how flies react to this strategy. It turns out that the flies had their motion detection systems jumbled because of the stripes. Researchers painted a total of six Japanese Black cows similar to Zebra black-and-white stripes.

One they had painted them, they observed a group of cows with the stripes and another group without the stripes. This observation was continued for a total of three days. The findings have been published in Plos One.

The team took high-res pictures of the cattle at different times. After examining these images, they were able to count the total number of flies that landed on the animals. The scientists also noted the frequency of cows stamping their legs or moving their tails to get rid of the flies that were bothering them.

The number of biting flies that were observed on the striped cows was about half the number of biting flies spotted on the cows that were not painted. The study said, ‘We found that painting zebra-like stripes on cows can decrease the incidence of biting flies landing on individuals by 50%,” according to the study’s findings. We also found that the reduced landings of biting flies coincide with a reduction in defensive behaviors in cows.’

The study shows that there might be a better approach, as opposed to the conventional methods of repelling flies from livestock. The farming industry, as of right now, relies mostly on pesticides on animals for fighting the problem. The study said, ‘This work provides an alternative to the use of conventional pesticides for mitigating biting fly attacks on livestock that improves animal welfare and human health, in addition to helping resolve the problem of pesticide resistance in the environment.’