Wild Things: Life as We Know It

Feathered dinosaurs, white-coated horses, giant redwoods and more…

Camargue horses running through water France (© Steve Bloom Images / Alamy)


Equus caballus
(© Steve Bloom Images / Alamy)
Name: The horse (Equus caballus), specifically the white horse.
Among Humans: Prized.
Among Flies: Not so much.
Among Horses: White-coated horses are more susceptible to skin cancer and vision problems than more darkly pigmented herd mates. But this is a mixed curse, researchers studying a herd in Hungary have found. Blood-sucking, disease-spreading flies that prey on horses find their victims in part by detecting the polarized light reflected by the horses’ coats. White coats reflect light differently, making them less vulnerable to fly attacks.

Learn more about horses at the Encyclopedia of Life.


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