Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps

Infraorder ACHELATA Scholtz & Richter, 1995

Compiler and date details

May 2012 - Peter Davie, Queensland Museum, Brisbane


This group includes the spiny lobsters (Palinuridae), slipper lobsters (Scyllaridae). These families contain a number of commercially important food species. These lobsters had their greatest radiation in shallow subtidal waters, but some can be found to depths exceeding 2000 metres. Their fossil history stretches back to the Lower Triassic. Holthuis (1991) provided an excellent summary and keys to the families and genera.

There has been considerable interest in the higher order relationships of the”Palinura” over recent years. Tsang et al. (2008) undertook a molecular phylogenetic analysis and tentatively revived the suborder Macrura Reptantia. However there seems very strong evidence to separate the Polychelidae (traditionally included within the Palinuridea (= Palinura), and the strongest contemporary opinion is that that family should be elevated to a separate infraorder Polychelida as it is here (also see Scholtz & Richter 1995; Ahyong & O’Meally 2004; Bracken et al. 2009; Toon et al. 2009; Ahyong 2009). Consequently, the concept of the Palinuridea Latreille, 1802, is abandoned and the Achelata has been proposed as the new Infrordinal name.


General References

Ahyong, S.T. 2009. The polychelidan lobsters: Phylogeny and systematics (Polychelida: Polychelidae). In: Martin, J. W., Crandall, K. A. & Felder, D. L. (Eds).Crustacean Issues 18: Decapod Crustacean Phylogenetics. Taylor & Francis/CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida. pp. 369–396

Ahyong, S.T. & O'Meally, D. 2004. Phylogeny of the Decapoda Reptantia: resolution using three molecular loci and morphology. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 52(2): 673–693

Bracken, H.D., Toon, A., Felder, D.L., Martin, J.W., Finley, M., Rasmussen, J., Palero, F. & Crandall, K.A. 2009. The decapod tree of life: Compiling the data and moving toward a consensus of decapod evolution. Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny 67(1): 99–116

Chan, T.-Y. 2010. Annotated checklist of the world's marine lobsters (Crustacea, Decapoda, Astacidea, Glypheidea, Achelata, Polychelida). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 23: 153–181

Holthuis, L.B. 1991. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 13. Marine lobsters of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of species of interest to fisheries known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125, 13: i-viii, 1-292

McLaughlin, P.A. 1980. Comparative Morphology of Recent Crustacea. San Francisco : W.H. Freeman & Co. 177 pp.

Scholtz, G. & Richter, S. 1995. Phylogenetic systematics of the reptantian Decapoda (Crustacea, Malacostraca). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 113: 289–328

Toon, A., Finley, M., Staples, J. & Crandall, K.A. 2009. Decapod phylogenetics and molecular evolution. In: Martin, J.W., Crandall, K.A. & Felder, D.L. (Eds). Crustacean Issues 18: Decapod Crustacean Phylogenetics. Taylor & Francis/CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida. pp. 15–29

Tsang, L. M., Chan, T.Y., Cheung, M.K. & Chu, K.H. 2009. Molecular evidence for the Southern Hemisphere origin and deep sea diversification of spiny lobsters (Crustacea: Decapoda: Palinuridae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 48: 359–368

Tsang, L.M., Ma, K.Y., Ahyong, S.T., Chan T.Y. & Chu, K.H. 2008. Phylogeny of Decapoda using two nuclear protein-coding genes: Origin and evolution of the Reptantia. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 48: 359–368


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
10-May-2012 10-May-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)