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Non conventional animal models: The Parhyales

What is It ?

Parhyale is a small omnivorous crustacean living in shallow marine waters. They are detritivores: They feed on the organic matter contained in detritus and sediment. Their lifespan varies from 6 to 15 months, and they grow by successive moults. In the laboratory, parhyale are reared in salt water tanks, and feed with fish food and carrot pieces. The scientific name is Parhyale hawaiensis.

Why use these crustaceans in research?

“Unconventional” animal models make it possible to answer questions that cannot be answered with more commonly used animal models (Drosophila, zebrafish, etc.).

Parhyale has the rare advantage of being able to regenerate its limbs (legs and antennae) if they are cut. As the animals are translucent, the regeneration process can be followed live under a microscope.

To do what ?

At IGFL, we use Paryhales to:

  • Understand how the phenomenon of limb regeneration works.

For more information:

The crustacean model Parhyale hawaiensis. M. Paris, K. Wolff, N. H Patel, and M. Averof (2022). Current Topics in Developmental Biology - In Press.