Painting cattle with zebra-like stripes could be the answer to preventing fly attacks, according to a new study.
Six Japanese Black cows were involved in the study with different paint designs; treatments included black-and-white stripes, black stripes and no stripes.
The cows were observed for three days and high-resolution images were captured at regular intervals; they were used to count the number of flies which had landed on the animals.
Japanese researchers found that the black cows painted with zebra stripes are nearly 50% less likely to suffer from bites.
The study – which is published in the PLOS One – found that the frequencies of fly-repelling behaviours in cows painted with black-and-white stripes were also lower than those in the non-painted and black-striped cows.
Researchers said that the results suggest that painting black-and-white stripes on livestock such as cattle can prevent biting fly attacks and provide an alternative method of defending livestock against biting flies without using pesticides in animal production.
Image source: Tomoki Kojima/ PLOS One