Bugs in the Mouse House-Expanding the Use of Arthropods in Biomedical Research by Dr. Bradley Ahrens

As the scientific community strives to reduce, refine, and replace animals used in research, there is an increasing demand to develop viable alternative models to meet the growing needs of modern science. To this end, invertebrate models are becoming increasingly prevalent, and present a useful alternative to mammals for studying human disease. To many, they represent a popular “replacement” for vertebrate species under the assumption that they are insentient, or at least less sentient than vertebrate animals. Due to the increasing demand for these animals in research, it is important to develop procedural, medical, diagnostic, and husbandry standards for these species. Our research aims to address these 4 main areas of concern in order to lay the basic groundwork for the continuing replacement of mammals with invertebrates in biomedical research. Keywords: Optimice, alternative models, scorpions, tarantulas, arthorpods,