HEIDELBERG, N.Y., June 29 (UPI) — British scientists have built a computer-controlled robotic fish they say is revealing clues to the behavior of animals in moving groups.
“Robofish,” developed by researchers at Britain’s University of Leeds, can “recruit” and lead living fish in a tank to shed light on what makes fish in a shoal change directions, an article in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology reported Tuesday.
Placed in a tank with live fish, Robofish, a replica stickleback, encouraged both single fish and groups of up to 10 to follow it, and was able to make groups turn in the same direction as itself, demonstrating the effect of a leader fish on shoal behavior, the article said.
The research looked at both recruiting fish into a shoal and initiation of a new swimming direction to test leadership.
“This may provide a better understanding not only of fish behavior,” study author Jolyon Faria said, “but also contribute to a more general understanding of collective animal behavior.”
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