Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record: 1988
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record:
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record: 1988

General Invasion History:

Penaeus monodon (Asian Tiger Shrimp) ranges widely in the Indo-Pacific from the Red Sea and South Africa to Australia, Fiji, and Japan (Holthuis 1989; Food and Aquaculture Organization 2011). Research on the culture of this species began in the 1970s in China and Thailand, and at FAO (Food and Aquaculture Organization 2011) facilities in New Caledonia. These shrimp were among several species exported to shrimp farms in the Hawaiian Islands in 1978 (Eldredge 1994). They were exported to many different countries for culture, including Venezuela (in 1984, Perez et al. 2007), the US (in 1988, Wenner and Knott 1992), the Dominican Republic (in 1985), and Brazil (in 1981, Tavares 2011). Genetic analyses suggest that shrimps in Colombia are most closely related to populations from the Philippines and Taiwan (Aguirre-Pabon et al. 2015). Escapes are frequently reported, and breeding populations are known in Venezuela (Perez et al. 2007), Colombia (Aguirre-Pabon et al. 2015), Nigeria, and the Gulf of Guinea (Food and Agricultural Organization 2012). According to people in the shrimp industry, Tiger Shrimp are no longer commercially raised in the US, so P. monodon appearing in US waters may be coming from established populations near ongoing or abandoned rearing operations in the Caribbean (Pam Fuller, personal communication). At present, the increasing abundance of P. monodon, and the increasing frequency of juveniles in catches, indicates that breeding populations are established in US waters (Fuller et al. 2014).

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the East Coast:

In 1988, several hundred thousand postlarval Penaeus monodon, imported from stocks raised in Hawaii, were accidentally released, and about 1,000 juveniles and adults were caught by shrimp fishers from Georgetown, South Carolina to St. Augustine, Florida (Wenner and Knot 1992; Tavares 2011). This shrimp was not reported again in this region until 2006, when it was caught in Pamlico Sound, North Carolina (USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2011). From 2006 through 2012, at least 756 P. monodon were caught from Florida to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Most of these were mature adults, but some juveniles (<160 mm) were reported. A majority of these captures occurred off South Carolina (250 specimens) and North Carolina (380), and most occurred in October and November, in commercial trawls. It is probable that a breeding population occurs either on the Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast, or both (Fuller et al. 2014).

Invasion History on the Gulf Coast:

In September 2006, a specimen of Penaeus monodon was caught in Mississippi Sound near Dauphin Island, Alabama. At least 228 Asian Tiger shrimp have been caught in the Gulf of Mexico from 2006 through 2012. One was caught near the Florida Keys at the Dry Tortugas shrimp grounds in November 2010, and two on the peninsula north of Tampa Bay, and six in Texas, but the rest were found between Mobile Bay, Alabama and Vermillion Bay, Louisiana (USGS Noningigenous Aquatic Species Program 2014; Fuller et al. 2014).  In 2012-2013, nine specimens of P. monodon were collected in Mexican waters, including the southern Gulf, and the Gulf side of the Yucatan Peninsula (Wakida-Kusunoki et al. 2013). It is probable that a breeding population occurs either on the Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast, or both (Fuller et al. 2014). 

Invasion History in Hawaii:

Penaeus monodon was among several species imported to shrimp farms in the Hawaiian Islands in 1978 (Eldredge 1994). Some escapes were reported, but there was no evidence of reproduction (Carlton and Eldredge 2009).

Invasion History Elsewhere in the World:

Penaeus monodon was one of the shrimp species widely investigated and used for shrimp aquaculture, but in many locations, it has been supplanted by P. vannamei (Pacific White Shrimp), which is less susceptible to viral diseases and has a higher meat yield. Worldwide production of P. monodon in aquaculture peaked around 1998-2003 at about 50% of the worlds cultured shrimp production, and by 2008 comprised 22% of production (Food and Agriculture Organization 2011; Liao and Chien 2011). Culture of this shrimp was attempted in Ecuador, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Nigeria (Coelho et al. 2001; Perez et al. 2007; Santos et al. 2002; Anyanwu et al. 2011; Pam Fuller, personal communication). Established populations are known from Venezuela and Nigeria (Coelho et al. 2001; Perez et al. 2007; Anyanwu et al. 2011). Given the history of this species, it is possible that shrimp from abandoned culture operations have established populations in the Caribbean, and these are the source of the P. monodon appearing in East Coast and Gulf waters.


Penaeus monodon has a well-developed rostrum, which is toothed dorsally and ventrally. The carapace lacks longitudinal or transverse sutures, but cervical (neck) and orbito-antennal grooves and antennal carinae (keels) are always present. Hepatic and antennal spines are pronounced. The most distinct features for identification of this species are: fifth pereiopods (walking legs) without an exopod; the hepatic carina (keel) horizontally straight; and gastroorbital carina (keel) occupying the posterior half of the distance between the hepatic spine and postorbital margin of the carapace. Body color can vary depending on substratum, food availability and water turbidity, ranging among green, brown, red, grey, blue, with alternating transverse blue-black and yellow stripes. Adults may reach 33 cm in length and females are commonly larger than males (Food and Aquaculture Organization 2011). Some of the larval stages of P. monodon are illustrated and described by Juwana and Romimotharto (1987).


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Arthropoda
Subphylum:   Crustacea
Class:   Malacostraca
Subclass:   Eumalacostraca
Superorder:   Eucarida
Order:   Decapoda
Suborder:   Dendrobranchiata
Superfamily:   Penaeoidea
Family:   Penaeidae
Genus:   Penaeus
Species:   monodon


Penaeus bubulus (Kubo, 1949)
Penaeus caeruleus (Stebbings, 1905)
Penaeus carinatus (Dana, 1852)
Penaeus monodon var. manillensis (Villaluz and Arriola, 1938)

Potentially Misidentified Species



Adult Penaeus monodon spawn in the ocean, releasing their eggs into the water. The eggs hatch into a nonfeeding nauplius larva, which lasts about two days, and molts into a zoea stage (4.5 days), a mysis stage (4 days) and a postlarva (15-20 days) (Barnes 1983; Food and Agricultural Organization 2011; stage durations are given for unspecified aquaculture conditions). Postlarvae and juveniles tend to migrate into estuaries, while adults return to the sea for spawning (Food and Agricultural Organization 2011).


Crustaceans, molluscs, polychaetes, plants


fishes, humans

Trophic Status:




General HabitatGrass BedNone
General HabitatCoarse Woody DebrisNone
General HabitatUnstructured BottomNone
General HabitatMangrovesNone
Salinity RangeOligohaline0.5-5 PSU
Salinity RangeMesohaline5-18 PSU
Salinity RangePolyhaline18-30 PSU
Salinity RangeEuhaline30-40 PSU
Tidal RangeSubtidalNone
Vertical HabitatEpibenthicNone
Vertical HabitatNektonicNone

Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Minimum Temperature (ºC)17Shrimp become inactive at 16-18 C (Food and Agriculture Organization 2011)
Maximum Temperature (ºC)37.5Experimental. , Ze-Ping. Chen, Hao-Ru. 2005. Thermal effects of temperature on two commercially important shrimp species in Daya Bay. Ecologica Sinica 25(5):1115-1122
Minimum Salinity (‰)0Field occurrences in freshwater (Fuller et al. 2014). Reduced survival at 5 PSU and below (Ye et al. 2009)
Maximum Salinity (‰)38Field, Fuller et al. 2014
Minimum Duration25Hatching through postlarva- Unspecified aquaculture conditions (Food and Agriculture Orgnaization 2011)
Broad Temperature RangeNoneSubtropical-Tropical
Broad Salinity RangeNoneOligohaline-Euhaline

General Impacts

Penaeus monodon is apparently established in US waters, with a growing range and population, but its impacts are unknown (Fuller et al. 2014). In its native range, it is an important wild fisheries resource, and is still widely cultured, though it has been partially supplanted by Litopenaeus vannamei (Pacific White Shrimp) in aquaculture (Food and Agriculture Organization 2011; Liao and Chien 2011). Populations of P. monodon, if established, could compete with native shrimps, and could transmit viruses such as the White Spot Virus (Food and Agriculture Organization 2011). Understanding the genetic structure, life history, and parasitology of the expanding Tiger Shrip population will be important in determining its impacts on existing shrimp fisheries and ecosystems (Fuller et al. 2014).

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
EAS-II None 0 Native Estab
RS-3 None 0 Native Estab
RS-2 None 0 Native Estab
RS-1 None 0 Native Estab
EA-III None 0 Native Estab
EA-II None 0 Native Estab
EA-V None 0 Native Estab
IP-1 None 0 Native Estab
CIO-I None 0 Native Estab
CIO-II None 0 Native Estab
EAS-I None 0 Native Estab
EAS-III None 0 Native Estab
NWP-2 None 0 Native Estab
NWP-3a None 0 Native Estab
AUS-XII None 0 Native Estab
AUS-XIV None 0 Native Estab
AUS-I None 0 Native Estab
AUS-II None 0 Native Estab
CAR-VII Cape Hatteras to Mid-East Florida 2006 Def Estab
SP-VII None 0 Native Estab
NWP-3b None 0 Native Estab
CIO-III None 0 Native Estab
CAR-I Northern Yucatan, Gulf of Mexico, Florida Straits, to Middle Eastern Florida 2006 Def Estab
S020 Pamlico Sound 2006 Def Estab
S110 Broad River 1988 Def Estab
G150 Mobile Bay 2008 Def Estab
G160 East Mississippi Sound 2006 Def Estab
G220 Atchafalaya/Vermilion Bays 2007 Def Estab
S030 Bogue Sound 2008 Def Estab
S040 New River 2008 Def Estab
S045 _CDA_S045 (New) 2008 Def Unk
S056 _CDA_S056 (Northeast Cape Fear) 2008 Def Estab
S080 Charleston Harbor 2008 Def Estab
S180 St. Johns River 2008 Def Estab
CAR-III None 2005 Def Estab
SA-III None 2001 Def Unk
SA-IV None 2002 Def Unk
SA-II None 2000 Def Unk
WA-II None 1999 Def Estab
WA-III None 1999 Def Estab
SP-XXI None 1991 Def Unk
SP-XIII None 0 Native Estab
EA-IV None 0 Native Estab
CIO-IV None 0 Native Estab
G200 Barataria Bay 2009 Def Estab
S050 Cape Fear River 2009 Def Estab
S076 _CDA_S076 (South Carolina Coastal) 2009 Def Unk
S120 Savannah River 2009 Def Estab
G190 Mississippi River 2009 Def Estab
S090 Stono/North Edisto Rivers 1988 Def Estab
S183 _CDA_S183 (Daytona-St. Augustine) 2007 Def Estab
S100 St. Helena Sound 2009 Def Estab
CAR-IV None 1988 Def Unk
SEP-I None 1988 Def Unk
S140 St. Catherines/Sapelo Sounds 2008 Def Estab
G210 Terrebonne/Timbalier Bays 2010 Def Estab
S206 _CDA_S206 (Vero Beach) 2010 Def Estab
G170 West Mississippi Sound 2011 Def Estab
G180 Breton/Chandeleur Sound 2011 Def Estab
G140 Perdido Bay 2011 Def Estab
S010 Albemarle Sound 2011 Def Estab
G110 St. Andrew Bay 2011 Def Estab
S130 Ossabaw Sound 2011 Def Estab
G250 Sabine Lake 2011 Def Estab
S196 _CDA_S196 (Cape Canaveral) 2011 Def Estab
S190 Indian River 2011 Def Estab
G300 Aransas Bay 2011 Def Estab
G130 Pensacola Bay 2011 Def Estab
G120 Choctawhatchee Bay 2011 Def Estab
G074 _CDA_G074 (Crystal-Pithlachascotee) 2011 Def Estab
G230 Mermentau River 2011 Def Estab
G240 Calcasieu Lake 2011 Def Estab
S060 Winyah Bay 1988 Def Failed
S175 _CDA_S175 (Nassau) 2011 Def Estab
G076 _CDA_G076 (Withlachoochee) 2012 Def Estab
CAR-II None 2012 Def Unk
G280 Matagorda Bay 2012 Def Estab
G060 Sarasota Bay 2014 Def Estab
G260 Galveston Bay 2015 Def Estab
S200 Biscayne Bay 2012 Def Estab
WA-II None 2001 Def Unk
WA-V None 0 Native Estab
EAS-VI None 0 Native Estab
EAS-IV None 0 Native Estab
SP-III None 0 Native Estab
SP-I None 0 Native Estab
AUS-X None 0 Native Estab
AUS-XI None 0 Native Estab
NEA-V None 2020 Def Unk

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude


Aguirre-Pabon, J. A.; Orozco-Berdugo, G. Jr.; Narvaez-Barandica, J. C. (2015) Genetic status, source, and establishment risk of the giant tiger shrimp (Penaidae: Penaeus monodon, an invasive species in Colombian Caribbean waters, Acta Biologia Colombiana 20(1): 117-127

Alfaro-Montoya, Jorge; Monge-Ortiz, Ana Maria; Matinez-Fernandez, Damian; Herrera-Quesada, Erick (2015) First record of the nonindigenous Penaeus monodon Fabricius 1798 (Penaeidae) in the Carribean Sea of Costa rRca, Central America, with observations on selected aspects of its reproductive biology, BioInvasions Records 4: In oress

Altuve, Douglas E.; Marcano, Luis A.; Alio, Jose J.; blanco-Rambia, Juan P. (2008) [Presence of the Tiger Shrimp Penaeus monodon in the coast of the Orinoco River Delta and Gulf of Paria, Venezuela, Memoria de la Fundacion La Salle de Ciencias Naturales 68(169): 83-92

Anyanwu, P. E. and 9 authors (2011) Culture possibilities of Penaeus monodon in Nigeria, Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences <missing volume>: published online

Baker, Andrew C. (1993) Flexibility and specificity in coral-algal synbiosis: Diversity, ecology, of Symbiodinium, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 34: 661-685

Barnes, Robert D. (1983) Invertebrate Zoology, Saunders, Philadelphia. Pp. 883

Buskey, Nikki (12/10/2011) Tiger prawn sightings increase in La., Thibodaux Daily Comet <missing volume>: <missing location>

Carlton, James T.; Eldredge, Lucius (2009) Marine bioinvasions of Hawaii: The introduced and cryptogenic marine and estuarine animals and plants of the Hawaiian archipelago., Bishop Museum Bulletin in Cultural and Environmental Studies 4: 1-202

Coelho, Petrônio Alves; Santos, Maria do Carmo Ferrão; Ramos-Porto, Marilena (2001) Ocorrência de Penaeus monodon Fabricius, 1798 no litoral dos estados de Pernambuco e Alagoas (Crustacea, Decapoda, Penaeidae)., Arguivas de Zoologia 9(1): 149-153

da Silva, Eder Carvalho; Barros, Francisco (2011) [Benthic macrofauna introduced in Brazil: List of marine and freshwater species and actual distribution], Oecologia Australis 15(2): 326-344

Eldredge, L.G. (1994) Perspectives in aquatic exotic species management in the Pacific Islands Vol. I. Introductions of commercially significant aquatic organisms to the Pacific islands, South Pacific Commission. Inshore Fisheries Research Project, Technical Document 7: 1-127

Fitzgerald, William J.; Nelson, Stephen G. (1979) Development of aquaculture in an island community (Guam, Marianas Islands), Proceedings of the World Mariculture Society 10: 39-50

Food and Agricultural Organization 1998-2012 Database on Introductions of Aquatic Species. <missing URL>

Food and Agricultural Organization 2011 Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme; <i>Penaeus monodon</i> (Fabricius, 1798). <missing URL>

Fuller, Pam L. and 6 authors (2014) Invasion of Asian tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon Fabricius, 1798, in the western north Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, Aquatic Invasions 9: in press

Holmes, Samuel; Callaway, Ruth (2021) Fouling communities and non-native species within five ports along the Bristol Channel, South Wales, UK, Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 252(1107295): Publiished online

Holthuis, L. B. (1980) FAO Species Catalogue: Vol. 1. Shrimps and Prawns of the World., Food and Agricultural Organization, Rome. Pp. <missing location>

Juwana, Sri; Romimotharto, Kasijan (1987) A comparative study of some larval stages of Penaeus monodon and Penaeus mergiensis (Crustacea: Decapoda) from Indonesia, Publications of the Seto Marine Biological Laboratory 32(1/3): 109-122

Kirgan, Harlan (11/16/2011) Invasive silver carp, Asian tiger shrimp, and lionfish found in Mississippi waters, Mississippi Press <missing volume>: Published online

Krol, Justin D.; Hill, Jennifer M.; Kingsley Smith, Peter R.; Kendrick, Michael R.; Gooding, Elizabeth L.; Fuchs, Corinne; Whelan, Nathan V.; Bullard, Stephen A. (2024) First detection of white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) and infectious hypodermal and hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHHNV) from wild-caught giant tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon Fabricius, 1798 (Penaeoidea: Penaeidae) from the Gulf of Mexico and Northwestern Atlantic Ocean, Bioinvasions Records 13(1): 121–140

Liao, I. Chiu; Chien, Yew-Hu (2011) The Pacific White Shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei, in Asia: The world's most widely cultured alien crustacean, In: Galil, Bella S.; Clark, Paul F.; Carlton, James T.(Eds.) In the wrong place- Alien marine crustaceans: Distribution, biology, impacts. , Dordrecht, Netherlands. Pp. 489-519

Lopes, Rubens M. (Ed.) (2009) <missing title>, Ministry of the Environment, Brasilia, Brazil. Pp. 1-440

McCann, James A.; Arkin, Lori; Williams, James D. (1996) <missing title>, University of Florida, Center for Aquatic Plants, Gainesville. Pp. unpaged

McConnaughey, Janet (4/26/2012) US tiger shrimp sightings worry scientists, Beaver County Times <missing volume>: Published online

Modesto, et al. and 6 authors (2023) What we know and do not know about the invasive Asian clam Corbicula fluminea, Hydrabiologia <missing volume>: Pub;ished online

Parreira, Filipe and 6 authors (2021) Biodiversity consequences of Caulerpa prolifera takeover of a coastal lagoon, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 255(3): 107344

Pérez, Julio E.; Alfonsi, Carmen; Salazar, Sinatra K.; Macsotay, Oliver Barrios, Jorge; Escarbassiere, Rafael Martinez (2007) Especies marinas exóticas y criptogénicas en las costas de Venezuela., Boletino del Instituto Oceanographico de Venezuela 46(1): 79-96

Ruiz, Gregory M.; Geller, Jonathan (2018) Spatial and temporal analysis of marine invasions in California, Part II: Humboldt Bay, Marina del Re, Port Hueneme, and San Francisco Bay, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center & Moss Landing Laboratories, Edgewater MD, Moss Landing CA. Pp. <missing location>

Sandoval, Luis Alejandro; Leal-Florez, Jenny; Taborda, Alexander; Vásquez, Jairo Guillermo (2014) Spatial distribution and abundance of the giant tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon (Fabricius, 1798), in the Gulf of Urabá (Caribbean), Colombia, South America, BioInvasions Records 3(3): In press

Santos, Maria do Carmo Ferrão; Coelho, Petrônio Alves (2002) Espécies exóticas de camarões peneídeos (Penaeus monodon Fabricius, 1798 e Litopenaeus vannamei Boone, 1931) nos ambientes estuarino e marinho do nordeste do Brasil., Boletim Tecnica Cientifico de CEPENE, Tamaradare 10(1): 209-222

Tavares, M. R.; .Franco, A. C. S. ; . Ventura, C. R. R.; .Santos, L. N. (2021) Geographic distribution of Ophiothela brittle stars (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea): substrate use plasticity and implications for the silent invasion of O. mirabilis in the Atlantic, Hydrobiologia 848: 2093-2103

Tavares, Marco (2011) In the wrong place- Alien marine crustaceans: Distribution, biology, impacts, Springer, Dordrecht, Netherlands. Pp. 251-268

U.S. National Museum of Natural History 2002-2021 Invertebrate Zoology Collections Database.

USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2003-2024 Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database.

Wakida-Kusunoki, Armando T. and 5 authors (2013) Presence of giant tiger shrimp Penaeus monodon Fabricius, 1798 on the Mexican coast of the Gulf of Mexico, Bioinvasions Records 2(4): 325-328

Wakida-Kusunoki, Armando T.; De Anda-Fuentes, David; López-Téllez, Norma A. (2016) Presence of giant tiger shrimp Penaeus monodon (Fabricius, 1798) in eastern Peninsula of Yucatan coast, Mexico, Latin American Journal of Aquatic Research 44(1): 155-158

Wenner, Elizabeth L., Knott, David M. (1992) Introductions & transfers of marine species: achieving a balance between economic development and resource protection, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, Charleston. Pp. 173-181

Ye, Le and 5 authors (2009) Effects of salinity on growth and energy budget of juvenile Penaeus monodon, Aquaculture 140: 140-144