A new study has confused a number of spectators because the approach taken by the team of scientists is actually unexpected. The researchers painted a group of Japanese Black cows with white zebra stripes and for a very good reason.
The purpose of the study, as it turns out, was to see how flies react to this strategy. It turns out that the flies had their motion detection systems mixed up 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 saw a group of cows with the stripes and the other group without the stripes. This observation was extended for a total of three days. The findings have been published in Plos One.
Scientists took high-res pictures of the cattle at various times. After reviewing these images, they were able to count the entire number of flies that landed on the animals. The scientists also recorded the frequency of cows stamping their legs or moving their tails to get rid of the flies that were disturbing them.
The number of biting bugs 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 number 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 more useful approach, as opposed to the traditional methods of repelling flies from livestock. The agriculture industry, as of right now, relies mostly on pesticides on animals for attacking 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.’