Tracking movements of decapod crustaceans: a review of a half-century of telemetry-based studies

Academic Article


  • Decapod crustaceans are ecologically and economically important invertebrates but are vulnerable to anthropogenic pressures and climate change. Understanding their spatial ecology is essential for their management and conservation, with telemetry emerging as a useful tool to quantify space-use and movements. Here, we synthesized the use of telemetry to study decapods among articles published from 1971 to 2019 (n = 102 studies), by taxonomic group of the study species, study location, objectives, number of animals tagged and their tag recovery rate, types (and trends) of telemetry used, and IUCN conservation status. These studies revealed insight into the behaviours and roles of decapods across habitats and geographic regions. The most common study species were crayfish and lobsters (41%, Astacidea), and these studies also had the highest number of individuals tagged per study (mean = 149 individuals). Most studies (86%) were conducted in the northern hemisphere. Acoustic tags were the most commonly used equipment (66% of studies) and were first employed in 1971, followed by radio-telemetry (mid-1990s), passive integrated transponders (mid-2000s), and data storage tags (late 2000s). Almost half (48%) of studies focused on species that had a conservation status of Least Concern, perhaps reflecting an applied science focus on animals of commercial interest rather than conservation importance. The positive allometric relationship between body length and movement rate (exponent = 0.86) demonstrates the type of broader ecological insight that combining these studies can provide. Tracking decapod movements will likely become increasingly important for managing fisheries, protecting sensitive species, and understanding invasion biology.
  • Authors

  • Florko, Katie RN
  • Davidson, Ellyn R
  • Lees, Kirsty J
  • Hammer, Lars J
  • Lavoie, Marie-France
  • Lennox, Robert J
  • Simard, Emilie
  • Archambault, Philippe
  • Auger-Methe, Marie
  • McKindsey, Christopher W
  • Whoriskey, Frederick G
  • Furey, Nathaniel
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • November 25, 2021
  • Published In


  • Allometric scaling
  • Animal tracking
  • Fisheries
  • GPS
  • Invasive species
  • Movement ecology
  • Satellite tracking
  • Telemetry
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 219
  • End Page

  • 239
  • Volume

  • 679