Tuesday, 26 November 2019 11:13

Why the stripes?

Written by  Milking It

An experiment on a herd of cows in central Japan appears to have proven a radical, nature-inspired solution to a pest problem plaguing farmers.

Zebras and their gaudy coats have long intrigued scientists, spawning theories on how and why a few equine species developed stripes. A consensus emerged: the zigzag pattern was an evolutionary response to biting insects, especially carriers of deadly diseases. Insects, it seems, have a harder time landing on striped surfaces than solid-colored ones.

If it works for wild horses in Africa, why not cows in a Japanese pasture? So pondered the staff of the Aichi Agricultural Research Center, near the city of Nagoya. Together with agri school colleagues at Kyoto University, the center decided to experiment on its herd of Japanese black cattle. The white-striped cows sustained only half as many bug attacks as either of the other groups. 

More like this

Getting on top of a lousy problem

For strong wool sheep, lice infection is a nuisance more than a hefty financial cost. But, for fine wool sheep the financial toll is much greater. 

A resource not a pest

A conservation and hunting lobby has criticised a call by Environment Canterbury for more funding to prevent a national plague of wallabies.

» The RNG Weather Report

Featured

 

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Nats cop it too

Interestingly, none of the politicians managed to escape the wrath of farmers at the protest march organised by the lobby…

Why the stripes?

An experiment on a herd of cows in central Japan appears to have proven a radical, nature-inspired solution to a…

» Connect with Dairy News