Researchers from Lund University in Sweden and the Eotvos University at Budapest in Hungary have discovered why the zebra got its stripes.

They found that flies find zebra stripes very unattractive so probably that is the main reason why the animal got the stripes.

During an experiment, they had placed a blackboard, a white board and several other boards with stripes in a horse farm near Budapest. They had put insect glue on the boards to count the number of flies that got attracted to the board. They discovered that flies preferred dark coats and some flies preferred white coats and very few flies were attracted to the zebra stripes board.

To prove that stripes are unattractive to flies, researchers had again installed four 3-D sticky horse models in the horse farm - one brown, one black, one white and one black-and-white striped, like a zebra. After two days they found that the zebra-striped horse model attracted very few flies.

"We put insect glue on the boards and counted the number of flies that each one attracted," Susanne Akesson from the Lund University told the BBC.

"But the narrower (and more zebra-like) the stripes, the less attractive they were to the flies," she said.

"That was a surprise because, in a striped pattern, you still have these dark areas that are reflecting horizontally polarised light," she added.