M. Blaho

Learn More
The characteristic striped appearance of zebras has provoked much speculation about its function and why the pattern has evolved, but experimental evidence is scarce. Here, we demonstrate that a zebra-striped horse model attracts far fewer horseflies (tabanids) than either homogeneous black, brown, grey or white equivalents. Such biting flies are prevalent(More)
White horses frequently suffer from malign skin cancer and visual deficiencies owing to their high sensitivity to the ultraviolet solar radiation. Furthermore, in the wild, white horses suffer a larger predation risk than dark individuals because they can more easily be detected. In spite of their greater vulnerability, white horses have been highly(More)
Aquatic insects find their habitat from a remote distance by means of horizontal polarization of light reflected from the water surface. This kind of positive polarotaxis is governed by the horizontal direction of polarization (E-vector). Tabanid flies also detect water by this kind of polarotaxis. The host choice of blood-sucking female tabanids is partly(More)
During blood-sucking, female members of the family Tabanidae transmit pathogens of serious diseases and annoy their host animals so strongly that they cannot graze, thus the health of the hosts is drastically reduced. Consequently, a tabanid-resistant coat with appropriate brightness, colour and pattern is advantageous for the host. Spotty coats are(More)
Blood-sucking female tabanid flies cause serious problems for animals and humans. For the control of tabanids, the knowledge about their seasonality and daily activity is of great importance. Earlier, only traditional traps capturing exclusively female tabanids have been used to survey tabanid activity. The data of such temporal trapping do not reflect(More)
It is widely accepted that Vikings used sun-compasses to derive true directions from the cast shadow of a gnomon. It has been hypothesized that when a cast shadow was not formed, Viking navigators relied on crude skylight polarimetry with the aid of dichroic or birefringent crystals, called "sunstones." We demonstrate here that a simple tool, that we call(More)
As with mosquitoes, female tabanid flies search for mammalian hosts by visual and olfactory cues, because they require a blood meal before being able to produce and lay eggs. Polarotactic tabanid flies find striped or spotted patterns with intensity and/or polarisation modulation visually less attractive than homogeneous white, brown or black targets. Thus,(More)
Based on an earlier observation in the field, we hypothesized that light intensity and horizontally polarized reflected light may strongly influence the flight behaviour of night-active aquatic insects. We assumed that phototaxis and polarotaxis together have a more harmful effect on the dispersal flight of these insects than they would have separately. We(More)
The strongest known circular polarization of biotic origin is the left-circularly polarized (LCP) light reflected from the metallic shiny exocuticle of certain beetles of the family Scarabaeidae. This phenomenon has been discovered by Michelson in 1911. Although since 1955 it has been known that the human eye perceives a visual illusion when stimulated by(More)