Astacidea is an infraorder of decapod crustaceans including lobsters (though not "lobsters" such as the spiny lobster etc.), crayfish, and their close relatives.

Austropotamobius pallipes.jpg
Austropotamobius pallipes
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Suborder: Pleocyemata
(unranked): Reptantia
Infraorder: Astacidea
Latreille, 1802


The Astacidea are distinguished from most other decapods by the presence of chelae (claws) on each of the first three pairs of pereiopods (walking legs), the first of which is much larger than the remaining two pairs.[1] The last two pairs of pereiopods are simple (without claws), except in Thaumastocheles, where the fifth pereiopod may have "a minute pincer".[2]


Members of the infraorder Astacidea are found throughout the world – both in the oceans and in fresh water – except for mainland Africa and parts of Asia.[3]


Astacidea belongs to the group Reptantia, which consists of the walking/crawling decapods (lobsters and crabs). Astacidea is the sister clade to the infraorder Polychelida, a small group of crustaceans restricted to deep waters. The cladogram below shows Astacidea's placement within the larger order Decapoda, from analysis by Wolfe et al., 2019.[4]


Dendrobranchiata (prawns)  


Stenopodidea (boxer shrimp)  


Caridea (true shrimp)  

Reptantia (crawling/walking decapods)

Achelata (spiny lobsters, slipper lobsters)  

Polychelida (benthic crustaceans)

Astacidea (lobsters, crayfish)  

Axiidea (mud shrimp, ghost shrimp, or burrowing shrimp)

Gebiidea (mud lobsters and mud shrimp)

Anomura (hermit crabs and others)  

Brachyura (crabs)  

The infraorder Astacidea comprises five extant superfamilies, two of crayfish (Astacoidea and Parastacoidea), one of true lobsters (Nephropoidea), one of reef lobsters (the genus Enoplometopus), and a number of fossil taxa.[5] As of 2009, the group contains 782 recognised species, over 400 of which are in the crayfish family Cambaridae.[5] The members of the infraorder Glypheidea (containing numerous fossils and the two extant species Neoglyphea inopinata and Laurentaeglyphea neocaledonica) were formerly included here.[1]

The cladogram below shows Astacidea's internal relationships and the early split between lobsters and crayfish:[4][6]


Nephropidae (clawed lobsters)









  1. ^ a b Gary Poore (2004). "Astacidea – scampi & crayfish". Marine Decapod Crustacea of Southern Australia: a Guide to Identification. CSIRO Publishing. pp. 159–167. ISBN 9780643099258.
  2. ^ Lipke Holthuis (1991). "Infraorder Astacidea Latreille, 1802". FAO species catalogue Vol. 13: Marine Lobsters of the World (PDF). Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization. pp. 19–86. ISBN 92-5-103027-8.
  3. ^ J. K. Lowry (October 2, 1999). "Astacidea (Decapoda, Eucarida, Malacostraca)". Crustacea, the Higher Taxa. Australian Museum. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Wolfe, Joanna M.; Breinholt, Jesse W.; Crandall, Keith A.; Lemmon, Alan R.; Lemmon, Emily Moriarty; Timm, Laura E.; Siddall, Mark E.; Bracken-Grissom, Heather D. (24 April 2019). "A phylogenomic framework, evolutionary timeline and genomic resources for comparative studies of decapod crustaceans". Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 286 (1901). doi:10.1098/rspb.2019.0079. PMC 6501934. PMID 31014217.
  5. ^ a b Sammy De Grave; N. Dean Pentcheff; Shane T. Ahyong; et al. (2009). "A classification of living and fossil genera of decapod crustaceans" (PDF). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. Suppl. 21: 1–109.
  6. ^ a b Crandall, Keith A.; De Grave, Sammy (2017). "An updated classification of the freshwater crayfishes (Decapoda: Astacidea) of the world, with a complete species list". Journal of Crustacean Biology. 37 (5). doi:10.1093/jcbiol/rux070.