Predators in the wild evolved through the development of their attack skills. But also the animals that are their targets. A genetic intelligence lets everyone develop a certain strategy. Octopuses use mimicry. Other animals use stripes: Stripes on animals are a survival strategy.
Fight for life
Each species developed differently. But the goal is the same: survival. Some systems remain a mystery to scientists. This is the case with the flight of animals living in groups and with the stripes that normally cover their skin. How do all individuals manage to run in the same direction and at high speed when attacked by a predator? In which areas do the stripes appear? Is their color important? What role do you play in escaping predators? How does it affect whether the animals are solitary or social?
Mammals, birds, and fish evade predators by fleeing quickly and in a coordinated manner. Most researchers assume that they have to follow visual cues. However, the design of these signals was unknown. Researchers at Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC) studied the role of stripes on the body and limbs in this flight process. It was published by the trade journal Royal Society procedure B..
The main author of the work is Juan José Negro. “We wanted to find out why certain species move together in the face of the threat posed by a predator. Is there a universal language? They do it quickly in the same direction. This can only be explained by the existence of visual code like these lines. They act as directional lines for them in their flight movement. “
They examined statistical data on four different types of vertebrate animals. Birds, ruminants and a community of coral reef fish. All of them are social groups that are usually the target of predators. And they flee in a coordinated manner when they feel attacked.
“The lateral body ligaments are more common in social species. They are usually absent in individual species of the same type or in species that are less susceptible to predation. The conclusion? These body patterns provide a communication mechanism. It serves individuals to form compact groups. They inform neighboring people of the direction to go without causing chain shocks. They also confuse the predators with alternating contrasting ribbons in motion, ”says Negro.
The stripes in animals are typically achromatic on a scale from white to black. It corresponds to the theory of signal detection. Species with very different vision systems, including those that cannot see in color, can use and integrate this communication mechanism. “It is important that the bands are achromatic, white or black with no color. They contrast strongly and can be seen in any lighting condition. That would explain that it depends on the contrast to see these signals under any circumstances, ”adds Negro. “A simple and efficient system at the same time,” he concludes.