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Why I’ll Be Wearing Striped Shirts This Summer

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Scientists (they think) have figured out why zebras have stripes. It’s to discourage biting flies.

And no, this is not an April Fool’s joke. The link to this news story even says that – twice.

Here’s how I understand it. Biting flies flourish in the hot climate of Africa. So do zebras. Horses live in other parts of the world, but they get some relief from colder temperatures and less aggressive flies. Biting flies in Africa are attracted to dark surfaces because it looks like the mud where they breed. To you it’s nasty – to them, it’s a Sandals Resort. Light colors are not as attractive. And the worst – because it’s too confusing, is a striped dark and white pattern. Perhaps it’s as if your grandmother managed the Sandals Resort and came to tuck you in at night on your honeymoon.

So while researchers believe horses in other parts of the world were not as bothered by biting flies or migrated away from these flies, zebras decided to stay put and mess with them. And because of that, I, for one, salute the zebra – the prankster of the animal world.

What you’ve just read is my redneck explanation. You may want to read about the boring, REAL science, here.

And, here’s Great Britain’s The Telegraph, focusing on wearing striped shirts to ward off flies.

Banana Don and Stephanie McCoy amuse and thrill you every morning from 5:30 – 10AM on the radio at 100.7 WITL.

Banana Don can be reached via email at and on Twitter at @WITLBananaDon and @WITLFM. Also, Facebook friend Banana Don and Stephanie at and


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