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Giant Tiger Prawn – Invasive Species – Part 5

Invasive Species in USA Waterways - Part 5

Giant Tiger Prawn

(Penaeus monodon)


The Giant Tiger Prawn is an invasive species of Aquatic Anthropods which is native to the Indian Ocean. Its biological name is Penaeus monodon. This aggressive anthropod can grow to a foot in length and weigh a pound. While, it has an unusually large size, it can further be identified by black stripes across its dorsal side of the tail.

Furthermore, it can also be black with orange stripes on its back. Thereby, resembling a Tiger. Generally, has a life span of three years. Furthermore, reproduces in the waters south of the Gulf of Mexico. But migrates north after mating.

Invasive Species Definition

The definition of an invasive species is any species that is not native to our ecosystems and cause harm when introduced to the ecosystems. These may include amphibians, plants, insects, fish, fungus, bacteria and more. Impacts on the environment may cause economic loss or affect human health.

Invasive species tend to grow and reproduce quickly and spread aggressively with the potential to cause harm on the environment, economy or even human health. Therefore, given the label “invasive”.

Giant Tiger Prawns Ecological Impact

Being an extremely large and aggressive invasive species. Thereby, endangering the native shrimp species by preying upon them. Native shrimps and prawns are further at risk of contracting one of the sixteen diseases carried and transferred by the tiger prawn.

Further, resulting in mortality of native populations. Disease and predation can have a devastating effect on the native shrimp and prawn species resulting in an economic loss for shrimp fishermen.

Invasive Species - Giant Tiger Prawn

Invasive Species Introduction into the USA

Prefer warm water. Therefore, limited to the southern states. Tending to migrate further south to maintain a desired habitat. Furthermore, found in estuarine or marine habitats. Or on the ocean floor in the sediment. Found in the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. Prawns in Texas are found in Aransas Bay, Sabine Lake near the Louisiana border.

As well as, in the gulf about 70 miles from Freeport. These prawns were accidentally released into the wild by a South Carolina Research facility. Further, allowing the prawn to spread as far south as Florida. A popular prawn on Caribbean farms. Captures of tiger prawns after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were a surprise. However, captures since 2006 have been consistent.

Management of Giant Tiger Prawn

Giant Tiger Prawn - Invasive Species

Fishermen are to report any unusual shrimp catches to the Local Gulf Coast authorities. Further, to prevent establishment of colonies. Not permitted to throw back any prawns. With its large size and sweet taste, the tiger shrimp yields a high economic value. Therefore, qualifying it to farmed in the Caribbean. However, the state of Texas, prohibits tiger prawn farming.

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