Footballers who wear stripes could learn from the animal world how to confuse their opponents – if they run fast enough.
Research published by scientists shows that striped animals can confuse their predators by making them feel fuzzy when they move quickly.
To find out, scientists from the University of Newcastle have released sequences of rectangular shapes designed to mimic insects moving on a background.
The movement was designed to resemble the experiences of religious mantes in the wild.
The insects, some of which had narrow or wide stripes, were crossing the screen at different speeds, followed by the mantis as if they were prey.
Scientists have discovered that it was particularly difficult to spot insects with narrow bands moving at faster speeds.
This is thought to be due to the fact that the stripes on the animal become fuzzy for the predator and more difficult to see when they are moving at high speed.
Although it has been known for some time that some animals camouflage themselves better by blending into their environment, it is the first time that it is proven that some animals benefit from the decision to hide .
Professor Candy Rowe, lead author of the research, explained that speed and scratches would be a winning combination in nature.
"While we had this experience with religious mantis hunting rectangular insects on a computer screen, the same principle should apply in the wild," he said.
"So, the stripes may be helping to hide the zebras running in the plains or hoverflies that fly from flower to flower," she said.
Professor Rowe added that the results could be useful for footballers.
"The Newcastle United bands could therefore help push their opponents back, provided the players run fast enough," she said.
Sir Alex Ferguson set his sights on Manchester United's gray jersey when he lost a match in 1996.
The manager stated that he felt that the players were not able to stand out in the sun and that they were melting into the crowd. Manchester United has never worn this kit again.