Why These Japanese Cows Were Painted Like Zebras
Mon, April 19, 2021

Why These Japanese Cows Were Painted Like Zebras

 

“Never judge a book by its cover”-- this is a familiar phrase about prejudice, but it can also be true about cows that have recently been painted like zebras.

CNET.com, an American media website that publishes reviews, news, and articles, reported that Japanese researchers decided to paint their cows with zebra-style stripes. The researchers published their study in PLOS ONE, where they explained that these cows had been being bitten by flies before they were painted on.

 

Photo Credit: Tomoki Kojima/Plos One (via CNET.com)

 

The researchers believe that the stripes were effective in confusing insects. The flies’ motion detection systems were disturbed by the said stripes, and these systems were supposed to let them know which parts of the animal they could land on or approach. 

For the study, the researchers used six Japanese Black cows, and they painted them with black-and-white stripes. The researchers observed cows with and without painted stripes for three days. In order to take data, and they snapped high-quality photos of the cattle at different times so that they could count the number of insects that were pestering them.

 

Photo Credit: Tomoki Kojima/Plos One (via CNET.com)

 

Aside from the insects, they also observed six Japanese Black cows to see if they stamped their legs or moved their tails. The researchers also took note of the other usual physical behaviors that the cows would use to repel the flies. 

“We found that painting zebra-like stripes on cows can decrease the incidence of biting flies landing on individuals by 50%,” reads the research. The researchers added that since the flies were less likely to affect the cows, their defensive behavior was also decreased.

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