NOTE: Information Resources on the Care and Use of Molluscs may be viewed in sections below or as one
complete publication file at molluscs.htm.

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United States
Department of

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Animal Welfare
Information Center

Information Resources on the Care
and Use of Molluscs

AWIC Resource Series No. 22

May 2003


Image by Tex Jones. Copyright Mote Marine Laboratory.

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

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How to Use This Guide

Laboratory Care / Research    (Bivalves      Cephalopods     Gastropods     Miscellaneous)

Aquaculture Related Resources    (Bivalves      Cephalopods     Gastropods     Miscellaneous)

World Wide Web Resources



             The author gratefully acknowledges the staff members of the Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC): Barbara Buchanan for her assistance in editing/ formatting/ the web publication, D’Anna Jensen for guidance/ editing/ formatting the print version of this publication (available by request), Tim Allen for help developing the search strategy, Michael Kreger (former staff) also for help developing the search stragegy, and Jean Larson for overall guidance/ support.


How to Use This Guide*

              Invertebrates are playing an increasingly important role in biomedical research. Because many of their biological processes are temperature dependant, they have allowed us to view biochemical pathways and intermediate steps in ways that would be impossible with birds or mammals. Some have cells or organs similar to those found in man but greatly enlarged. The giant axon in the squid and the muscle cells in barnacles are the largest in the animal kingdom. Octopuses have the most complex brain of all invertebrates; which include long and short-term memories. Aplysia are used in many different types of nervous system studies. Sea squirts have been used to study kidney stones and squid are used in multiple sclerosis research. From scallop to sea slug, invertebrates have served as models of human and animal disease.

            Invertebrates are relatively easy to maintain, less expensive, and less labor intensive than more traditional laboratory animals. From a societal standpoint, invertebrates may be more acceptable as laboratory animals than vertebrates. Many researchers, 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 to the animals, and replace the animal model with a non-animal model or a taxonomically lower species. Use of the invertebrate is considered a replacement alternative to the use of vertebrates. 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 Molluscs, provides a snap shot of how Molluscs are being used in research and, just as important, how they are cultured, reared, and housed in the laboratory and elsewhere. The bibliographic citations cover the publication years 2002 to approximately 1973. The bibliographic citations resulted from searching numerous scientific and technical databases. The call number is included for materials in the National Agricultural Library’s (NAL) collection. NAL’s document delivery policies can be found at

            The websites and organizations at the end of some sections are current through April 2003. 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 in this document 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.


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The Animal Welfare Information Center,
December 17, 2003