Meeting Abstract

24-5  Thursday, Jan. 5 11:15 - 11:30  Prey targeting with intermittent locomotion in zebrafish SOTO, A*; MCHENRY, MJ; UC Irvine; UC Irvine

The strategies implemented by predators to track and capture prey vary widely among animals. Biologists have successfully applied mathematical models developed for missile guidance to determine the pursuit strategies of flying predators, such as dragonflies and bats. These models generally assume continuous motion, but many predators move through their environment in discrete bouts of activity, such as the beat-and-glide swimming of fishes. To understand how prey targeting is controlled in intermittent locomotion, we conducted predation experiments in zebrafish and developed a biomechanical control model that predicts the trajectory of a predator during hunting. We found that the predator’s bearing angle during a glide is predictive of the yaw during the subsequent tail beat. Our control model consequently used the bearing angle as a control input to determine the thrust force, the control variable in our model. We found that proportional control is sufficient for approaching prey. However, intermittent swimming requires that the proportional response be delayed until the completion of a glide. This model provides a basis for understanding the sensory-motor mechanisms of a broad diversity of predators.