In order to strengthen animal welfare, many countries require that experimenters follow the ‘3Rs Principle’ when designing animal experiments. The 3Rs call for a reduction in the number of animals used, the refinement of methods to reduce stress as well as the full replacement of animals in experimentation through alternative methods. Biomimetic robots that resemble live animals and allow for natural-like interactions represent a valuable tool to achieve the 3Rs’ objectives. On the basis of our research with a robotic fish that is accepted as a conspecific by live poeciliid fishes, we highlight how biomimetic robots can reduce the number of animals tested by (a) substituting live animals, (b) providing highly standardized cues, and (c) reducing overall stress for live animals during tests through less handling.

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