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Scientists Use Robots to Reveal How Predatory Fish Cope with Unpredictable Prey

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A blue acara chiclid.

The researchers' findings suggest the behavioral characteristics of the predator may be crucial in determining whether being unpredictable is beneficial to prey.


Researchers at the U.K.'s University of Bristol used robots to demonstrate how predators adapt to overcome unpredictable behavior by their prey.

Using real predatory fish (blue acara cichlids) and robotic prey, the researchers found that predators adjust their own behavior to neutralize prey’s erratic behavior.

The researchers programmed the robotic prey to act predictably by escaping in the same direction in every interaction with the predator, or to act unpredictably by escaping in random directions.

They found predators adjusted their speed of approach when dealing with predictable prey in a way that showed they anticipated the prey's behavior based on previous encounters.

Although predators did not adjust their approach speed when dealing with unpredictable prey, the researchers found they compensated by increasing their speed during the hunt.

From University of Bristol News (U.K.)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2022 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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