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AFRICA, LE STRISCE DELLE ZEBRE

E’ la temperatura ambientale a determinare lo “stile” delle strisce del mantello delle zebre. A scoprirlo è un gruppo di ricercatori dell’Università della California a Los Angeles che firmano un articolo sulla rivista “Royal Society Open Science”. L’influenza della temperatura sulle strisce delle zebre. Il singolare disegno del mantello delle zebre ha sempre suscitato la curiosità dei biologi evoluzionisti che hanno proposto svariate ipotesi per spiegarle. Fra le più recenti e accreditate vi è quella che l’alternarsi di righe bianche e nere (che polarizzano la luce in modo diverso) crei un effetto ottico che le rende meno identificabili da mosche cavalline e tafani, che possono portare pericolose parassitosi. Non tutti gli scienziati però sono convinti che questa sia la spiegazione definitiva, soprattutto perché non dà conto delle notevoli variazioni nell’intensità e nella distribuzione delle strisce che si riscontra nelle popolazioni di zebre delle diverse regioni. In alcune zone, infatti, le zebre – il cui areale si estende dall’Etiopia meridionale fino al Sud Africa – hanno strisce fortemente marcate e spesse su tutto il corpo, mentre altrove sono più deboli e sottili e quasi o del tutto assenti sulle zampe.

Foto di Fabiana

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