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Zebra Stripes$
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Tim Caro

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226411019

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226411156.001.0001

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Stripes and equids

Stripes and equids

(p.1) One Stripes and equids
Zebra Stripes

Tim Caro

University of Chicago Press

The reasons that the three species of zebras are believed to have stripes fall into four major categories. Antipredation hypotheses consist of crypsis, where the zebra is thought to blend in with the background vegetation or stripes disrupt the outline of the body making it difficult to recognize the animal as prey. Warning coloration is where stripes signal the difficulty involved in catching an animal. Predator confusion is thought to operate by making it difficult for a predator to count, follow or target and individual. A second category concerns thwarting biting fly attack since some taxonomic groups of flies are known to be deterred by stripes. A third concerns using stripes to signal to conspecifics. A final category concerns heat management. The second half of the chapter discusses the social organization, behavior and coloration of all seven species of extant equids, as well as living and extinct subspecies. It shows how equids are split sharply into striped and unstriped species. The chapter ends with a discussion of how stripes develop in an individual zebra.

Keywords:   African wild ass, Asiatic wild ass, development of stripes, Grevy’s zebra, hypotheses for striping, kiang, mountain zebra, plains zebra, Przewalski’s horse

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