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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Robot Fish Fools Its Companions
7 June 2012 7:00 pm
Zebrafish aren't picky when it comes to making friends. A new study reveals that the 3-centimeter-long swimmers—the "lab rats" of aquatic science—will hang around a robotic fish, even a crudely designed one. The robot has features previously shown to attract both male and female zebrafish: the plump round shape of an egg-laden female zebrafish, bright blue stripes in the pattern sported by the species, and a flexible tail that can be moved back and forth. Even though the makeshift model is a whopping five times the size of an adult zebrafish (several shown in background at right), both single zebrafish and groups preferred mingling with the robot to spending time elsewhere in the tank, the researchers report online today in Bioinspiration & Biomimetics. In the dark, however, the zebrafish avoided the robot—a sign, the researchers say, that the fish don't like the noise it makes, but that they're willing to ignore this when they can see the robot's visual cues. The team is now studying how zebrafish and other species respond to free-swimming robots in tanks that include fish of several species, which represents a more realistic environment, and future tests will include vegetation and other hiding spots. Besides helping study fish behavior in the lab, the researchers contend that such robots may offer a way to protect endangered species by luring them away from hazards or by repelling their predators.
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