Why zebras are attracted to wildebeests
i.e. more intensely pigmented than the normal colour
Connochaetes mearnsi & Equus quagga boehmi photo by Uli Sauer
The plains zebra consorts with wildebeests to enhance its optical defence: predators such as the spotted hyena take longer to distinguish vulnerable individuals of the disruptively striped species than of the conspicuously dark-and-pale species. The complication of striping serves not to camouflage the whole body – which would be futile in short vegetation – but to retard the scanning by predators for pregnant or lame quarry, thereby boosting the likelihood that the wildebeest rather than the zebra will be targeted.
Robin and the Honey Badger, 22 March 2016