London: Researchers have finally got an answer to why zebras have stripes, claiming that the animals have the striking pattern to confuse predators.
Scientists from the University of Queensland in Australia, with the help of computer models, have proved that the striped pattern creates an optical illusion when zebras move, the Independent reported.
The team of researchers, who analyzed photographs and video footage of the animals, found that the black and white patterns translate as "misleading information" in the eyes of other creatures, thus protecting wild zebras from a range of predators.
Lead author Dr Martin How said the narrow vertical stripes on a zebra`s back and neck combined with the wide diagonal stripes on its flank give off unexpected motion signals, which become stronger when a heard moves.
Dr How said their study suggested that these illusions cause pests and predators to mistake the zebra`s movement direction, causing biting insects to abort their landing manoeuvres and chasing predators to mistime their attacks.
The study was published in the journal Zoology.