Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 329–349 | Cite as

A global review of freshwater crayfish temperature tolerance, preference, and optimal growth

  • J. T. WesthoffEmail author
  • A. E. Rosenberger


Conservation efforts, environmental planning, and management must account for ongoing ecosystem alteration due to a changing climate, introduced species, and shifting land use. This type of management can be facilitated by an understanding of the thermal ecology of aquatic organisms. However, information on thermal ecology for entire taxonomic groups is rarely compiled or summarized, and reviews of the science can facilitate its advancement. Crayfish are one of the most globally threatened taxa, and ongoing declines and extirpation could have serious consequences on aquatic ecosystem function due to their significant biomass and ecosystem roles. Our goal was to review the literature on thermal ecology for freshwater crayfish worldwide, with emphasis on studies that estimated temperature tolerance, temperature preference, or optimal growth. We also explored relationships between temperature metrics and species distributions. We located 56 studies containing information for at least one of those three metrics, which covered approximately 6 % of extant crayfish species worldwide. Information on one or more metrics existed for all 3 genera of Astacidae, 4 of the 12 genera of Cambaridae, and 3 of the 15 genera of Parastacidae. Investigations employed numerous methodological approaches for estimating these parameters, which restricts comparisons among and within species. The only statistically significant relationship we observed between a temperature metric and species range was a negative linear relationship between absolute latitude and optimal growth temperature. We recommend expansion of studies examining the thermal ecology of freshwater crayfish and identify and discuss methodological approaches that can improve standardization and comparability among studies.


Thermal ecology Temperature preference Temperature tolerance Optimal growth Acclimation Crayfish 



The Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit is jointly sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation, the University of Missouri, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Wildlife Management Institute. Any use of trade, produce or firm name is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. We thank D. Magoulick and two anonymous reviewers for comments that improved this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland (outside the USA) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, 302 ABNR BuildingUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, 302 ABNR BuildingUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Central Regional Office and Conservation Research CenterMissouri Department of ConservationColumbiaUSA

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