Racing Stripes

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Some of our black piglets have red stripes on them when they are little.  No, not this kind of Red Stripe.  We call them racing stripes, and although we can’t be certain that the pinstripes actually make them go faster, it at least makes them look faster.  Von Dutch would be proud of the detailing on some of these pigs.

By the time they are a month or two old the piglets lose the red and become solid black.  We don’t notice the comparable transformations in piglets who are born with other colors, but we can usually count on one or two of our black piglets starting out with stripes.  I’ve read some details about this, but apparently the genetics of the striping aren’t fully understood.  This is a residual gene from their pre-domesticated past, since all wild boar piglets are born with stripes.

I can understand the survival advantage from the camouflage striping patterns, but that leads me to wonder why adult pigs all lose this pattern as they mature.  If the camouflage helps the piglets, why doesn’t it help the adults?

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