Weathering-Resistant Replicas Fabricated by a Three-Dimensional Printing Robotic Platform Induce Shoaling Behavior in Zebrafish

Wei Lin Wu, Di Ching Li, Yen Shuo Chen, Fu Hsiang Ko*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent decades, zebrafish have become an increasingly popular laboratory organism in several fields of research due to their ease of reproduction and rapid maturation. In particular, shoaling behavior has attracted the attention of many researchers. This article presents a fully printed robotic model used to sense and stimulate shoaling behavior in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Specifically, we exposed laboratory-fabricated replicated materials to critical acid/base/salt environments and evaluated the mechanical, optical, and surface properties after a three-month immersion period. Focusing on weatherability, these test samples maintained high tensile strength (~45 MPa) and relatively similar transmission (>85%T in the visible region), as determined by UV–vis/FTIR spectroscopy. Three-dimensional (3D) printing technology allowed printing of models with different sizes and appearances. We describe the sense of zebrafish responses to replicas of different sizes and reveal that replicas approximating the true zebrafish size (3 cm) are more attractive than larger replicas (5 cm). This observation suggests that larger replicas appear as predators to the zebrafish and cause fleeing behavior. In this study, we determined the weatherability of a high-transparency resin and used it to fabricate a fully printed driving device to induce shoaling by zebrafish. Finally, we demonstrate a weathering-resistant (for three months) 3D-printed decoy model with potential utility for future studies of outdoor shoaling behavior, and the result has the potential to replace the traditional metal frame devices used in outdoor experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3481
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 May 2022


  • 3D-printed replica
  • Danio rerio
  • shoaling
  • weathering resistance


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