The debate is over. Adam Egri at Eotvos University in Budapest and his colleagues believe Zebras evolved stripes to protect themselves from blood sucking insects. Zebra embryos are completely black and the white stripes appear at the last embryonic stage. 

Each zebra has their own variation of stripes, too, that are very subtle. It’s like nature’s own barcode system. Many have hypothesized that they developed their stripes for camouflage, but that doesn’t really make sense since it doesn’t serve them any purpose in the open plains of South Africa. 

They actually never freeze or attempt to hide like other hoofed animals from their predators. Now, researchers think their stripes are used to confuse their predators, and give them crucial time to escape. 

Their stripes and movement cause an optical illusion and is very effective when they move together. They are very communal animals and living in herds keeps them safer from their predators.