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How to Scare an Invasive Fish? A Menacing Robot Predator.


The robot fish with two mosquitofish (at right).

In a new study, scientists tried to frighten the mosquitofish, which is wreaking havoc on native Australian marine life, with a robot look-alike of its natural foe.

Credit: Giovanni Polverino

University of Western Australia (UWA) scientists have created a robot fish to terrify the invasive mosquitofish species by mimicking its most feared predator, the largemouth bass.

The goal is to scare mosquitofish from their prey, which includes native fish and frogs, to prevent their depletion.

The robot fish uses a camera to distinguish between the mosquitofish and tadpoles of the Australian motorbike frog; it is programmed to lurch toward mosquitofish as if to strike when they approach tadpoles.

Experiments demonstrated that the mosquitofish would expend more energy evading the robot than reproducing, resulting in declining sperm counts, lighter egg production, and weight loss.

From The New York Times
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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