This web site was copied prior to January 20, 2005. It is now a Federal record managed by the National Archives and Records Administration. External links, forms, and search boxes may not function within this collection. Learn more.   [hide]
USDA logo
United States
Department of

ARS logo

NAL logo

AWIC logo
Animal Welfare
Information Center

Information Resources on the Care
and Use of Insects


AWIC Resource Series No. 25

June 2004

Compiled by:

Gregg B. Goodman, M.S.

Animal Welfare Information Center

National Agricultural Library

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Published by:

U. S. Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

National Agricultural Library

Animal Welfare Information Center

Beltsville, Maryland 20705


Web site:

Adult Giant Brown Cricket
Insecta > Orthoptera > Acrididae
Tropidacris dux (Drury)

Photographer: Ronald F. Billings
Texas Forest Service



How to Use This Guide


Insect Models for Biomedical Research [pdf]

Laboratory Care / Research | Biocontrol | Toxicology

World Wide Web Resources


How to Use This Guide*


            Insects offer an incredible advantage for many different fields of research. They are relatively easy to rear and maintain. Their short life spans also allow for reduced times to complete comprehensive experimental studies. The introductory chapter in this publication highlights some extraordinary biomedical applications. Since insects are so ubiquitous in modeling various complex systems such as nervous, reproduction, digestive, and respiratory, they are the obvious choice for alternative research strategies. Their opportunities lie vastly unexplored.

            Insects’ biological processes are temperature dependant and they have allowed us to view biochemical pathways and intermediate steps in ways that would be impossible with other warm blooded animal models. They are an economical alternative to vertebrate models and less labor intensive than more traditional laboratory animals. From a societal standpoint, invertebrates may be more acceptable for research than vertebrates. Many scientists, either by law or policy, are required to consider ways to reduce the number of animals proposed for an experiment, refine their techniques to minimize pain and distress, and replace with a non-animal model or a phylogenetically lower species. Since research has not yet shown invertebrate cognition of what would be considered pain in mammals and birds, their use is also a refinement alternative.

            This guide, Information Resources on the Care and Use of Insects, provides a snapshot of how insects are being used in research and industry. The citations included also review how they are utilized, cultured, reared, and housed in the laboratory and elsewhere. References extracted scan the publication years 2004 to approximately 1968 and resulted from searching numerous scientific and technical databases. The call number is included for materials in the National Agricultural Library’s (NAL) collection. Information on how to obtain copies of articles mentioned in the bibliography are available from the National Agricultural Library's Document Delivery Services Branch at

            The websites and organizations at the end of some sections are current through August 2004. They were found by running general searches on the World Wide Web. As sites can become outdated or relocated and new sites emerge, a general search on one of the commercial search engines should help locate address changes or new sites if the addresses included no longer function.

* Information included in this portion of this publication and other web-resources sections were adapted from Information Resources for the Care and Use of Invertebrates (published previously in AWIC by Michael D. Kreger, Ph.D.) and included with his permission.

The author gratefully acknowledges the staff members of the Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC): Barbara Buchanan for her assistance in review of the printed version and preparation of the web publication, D’Anna Jensen for help with the creation of the index, and Jean Larson for editing and overall guidance/ support.

USDA logo ARS logo NAL logo
The Animal Welfare Information Center,
August 4, 2004