Artificial Intelligence: A Robotic Fish That Scares Away Invasive Species

January 3, 2022 | Digital Assets, News

The highly invasive mosquitofish, which attacks freshwater fish and tadpoles, has met its match in a robotic largemouth bass.

An international team of researchers from Australia, the US, and Italy, have designed a robotic version of the largemouth bass, a fish that preys upon the mosquitofish, an invasive marine species that feeds on freshwater fish, tadpoles and their eggs. (UNITE.AI)

The fearsome and aggressive mosquitofish bites off the tails of freshwater fish and tadpoles causing harm to the natural balance of marine life in the area. The scientists took inspiration from the largemouth bass, the natural predator that terrorizes this fish. The robotic copy is equipped with computer vision and can identify a mosquitofish that is homing in on tadpoles.

The robotic largemouth bass strikes, scaring away the intruder, but not other nearby species.

Mosquitofish – a global pest

Giovanni Polverino, from the University of Western Australia and first author of the research, said: “Mosquitofish is one of the 100 world’s worst invasive species, and current methods to eradicate it are too expensive and time-consuming to effectively contrast its spread. This global pest is a serious threat to many aquatic animals. Instead of killing them one by one, we’re presenting an approach that can inform better strategies to control this global pest. We made their worst nightmare become real: a robot that scares the mosquitofish but not the other animals around it.”

As a result of the encounter, the mosquitofish show a fearful and stressed behaviour alongside weight loss, a change in physical form, and reduced fertility. They were also observed to be lethargic, ate more food, and looked anxious for some few weeks after the shock from the robot.

Strangely, they started to use towards more energy towards escaping rather than reproducing.

What about the tadpoles?

“It turned out to be a positive thing for tadpoles. Once freed from the danger of having mosquitofish around, they were not scared anymore. They’re happy,” Polverino said.

Related Story: AI To Predict Growth Of Harmful Algal Blooms in Oceans

Image of Western Mosquitofish: Flickr Image of Largemouth Bass: Flickr

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