Thermal behaviour of crustaceans

Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc. 2006 May;81(2):237-58. doi: 10.1017/S1464793105006998. Epub 2006 Mar 8.


Specific thermoreceptors or putative multimodal thermoreceptors are not known in Crustacea. However, behavioural studies on thermal avoidance and preference and on the effects of temperature on motor activity indicate that the thermosensitivity of crustaceans may be in the range 0.2-2 degrees C. Work on planktonic crustaceans suggests that they respond particularly to changes in temperature by klinokinesis and orthokinesis. The thermal behaviour of crustaceans is modified by thermal acclimation among other factors. The acclimation of the critical maximum temperature is an example of resistance acclimation, while the acclimation of preference behaviour may be classified as capacity acclimation of some other function. In crustaceans, the use of the concepts stenothermy and eurythermy at the species level is questionable, and it is not possible to divide crustacean species into thermal guilds as suggested for fishes. Thermal preference behaviour contributes to fitness in different ways in different species, often by maximising the aerobic metabolic scope for activity. In crustaceans the peripheral nervous system seems to have retained the capacity for thermosensitivity and thermal acclimation independently of the central nervous system control of behaviour.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization / physiology
  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Biological Evolution
  • Chemoreceptor Cells / metabolism
  • Chemoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Crustacea / physiology*
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Seasons
  • Survival
  • Temperature
  • Thermoreceptors / metabolism
  • Thermoreceptors / physiology*