Sunday, January 15, 2012

Giant Tiger Prawn

Penaeus monodon
Today we learn all about the Giant Tiger Prawn, one of the most widely distributed Shrimp in the world. They can be found throughout the coastal regions of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and have the potential to become a troublesome invasive species in the Gulf of Mexico.

Giant Tiger Prawns are members of the Shrimp Infraorder. Two major differences between Shrimp and Prawns are the number of claws (3 sets in Prawns, 2 in Shrimp) and the abdominal bend that exists in Shrimp but not in Prawns.

When you think of Shrimp, you don't usually imagine something very large. Jumbo Shrimp being an oxymoron and all that. But Giant Tiger Prawns can grow to be a foot long! Their large size has led them to be farmed for food in some areas.

In the past few months, a handful of Giant Tiger Prawns have been found in the Gulf of Mexico. Their large size and huge appetite could severely upset the balance in that ecosystem. No one is sure yet where the Prawns came from, or how much effect they could have, but they could be incredibly damage to to the native Crustacean populations.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Indian and Pacific Oceans
Size : Length up to 1ft (30cm)
Classification : Phylum : Arthropoda -- Class : Malacostraca -- Order : Decapoda
Family : Penaeidae -- Genus : Penaeus -- Species : P. monodon

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