Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record: 2001
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record:
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record: 2001

General Invasion History:

Macrobrachium rosenbergii (formerly known as M. dacqueti) is a large catadromous shrimp native to coastal rivers and estuaries from Sri Lanka to Indonesia (Java and Borneo) and north to southern China (Wowor and Ng 2007). Its range is continued eastward by a very similar species, M. wallacei, formerly known as M. rosenbergii. The taxonomic history of these species is discussed in the 'Description' section. These shrimp live in coastal rivers, but spawn and undergo larval development in brackish waters, usually at 3-15 PSU (Hangsapreurke 2008).

Extensive aquaculture of M. rosenbergii began in the 1960s in Hawaii, and became a major economic resource by the 1980s. Major producing countries include the US, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Iran, India, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia (Food and Agriculture Organization 2011). Escapes of this shrimp have been reported in the US (Mississippi, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam), and breeding populations are reported in Venezuela, Brazil, and Dominica (Eldredge 1994; Williams et al. 2001; Woodley et al. 2002; Cintra et al 2003; Perez et al. 2007).

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the Gulf Coast:

Aquaculture of Macrobrachium rosenbergii has been slow to expand commercially in the southern US, because of low production, uncertain availability of seed stock, and wide size variation at harvest. Increased demand for shrimp products, and reduced supplies of wild shrimp have led to increased interest in culture of M. rosenbergii (Tidwell et al. 2005). In May-November 2001, 40 shrimp of this species were caught in Simmons Bayou, Jackson County, Mississippi in waters of 1-12 PSU, near an aquaculture facility (Woodley et al. 2002). We know of no further records of this shrimp in the continental US.

Invasion History in Hawaii:

Culture experiments with Macrobrachium rosenbergii started in 1965, with records of escapes and releases on 'all the islands' (Eldredge 1994), but there are no reports of successful reproduction or establishment (Carlton and Eldredge 2009).

Invasion History Elsewhere in the World:

In spite of the widespread culture of Macrobrachium rosenbergii, and the frequency of escapes and releases, the number of established populations appears small. This has been attributed to the low aggressiveness of this shrimp (Williams et al. 2001). On the Caribbean island of Dominica, M. rosenbergii was only established in areas where native freshwater shrimps had been eliminated (Alston, 1991, cited by Williams et al. 2001). Breeding populations are also established in Venezuela and equatorial Brazil. In Venezuela, populations are known from abandoned aquaculture ponds, stocked beginning in 1980, on Isla Margarita and in the Gulf of Paria in the Orinoco River Delta in 1996 (Perez et al. 2007). In equatorial Brazil, juveniles and egg-bearing adults were collected in the states of Para, Piaui, and Maranhão, from 2003 to 2009 (Cintra et al. 2003; Loebmann et al. 2010). A possibly established population was reported in southern Brazil in Parana State, in the Rio Guaraguaçu (Gazola-Silva et al. 2007). Silva-Oliveira et al. (2011) found that M. rosenbergii was extensively distributed and breeding in the state of Para, in the Amazon Delta and the coast to the west. Climate modeling indicated that northern Brazil was a favorable habitat for this species, as was tropical West Africa, and that some populations might persist as far north as Florida (Silva-Oliveira et al. 2011).

Many accidental releases of M. rosenbergii have occurred in Puerto Rico, but there are no reports of established populations (Williams et al. 2001).

In Guam, M. rosenbergii was imported for culture from Hawaii in 1974 (Fitzgerald & Nelson 1979). A mass release of this shrimp occurred after a dam burst in a culture facility in 1992 (Eldredge 1994), but the establishment of a breeding population is unknown.


Macrobrachium rosenbergii is a caridean shrimp. Infraorder characteristics include chelae (movable claws) on the first two pairs of walking legs, and the third thoracic segment overlapping the second. Shrimps of the genus Macrobrachium (meaning 'large arms') have the second pair of walking legs greatly lengthened, often equaling or exceeding body length, with very prominent chelae (Williams 1984). In M. rosenbergii, the second walking legs are equal in size and bear many small spines. The movable finger of the claw has very short, fine, downy spinules. The rostrum is long in young males (1.2-1.4 X carapace length), but proportionately shorter in older specimens (0.8-1.0 X carapace length). It is curved somewhat upwards, bearing 11-14 dorsal teeth, and 8-10 ventral teeth. Males reach 320 mm, and females can reach 250 mm (Wowor and Ng 2007; Food and Agriculture Organization 2011). Some of the larval stages of M. rosenbergii are illustrated and described by Uno & Kwon (1969). 

Males occur in three distinct male morphotypes, with intermediate stages. Males normally pass through these in a sequence: Small Males (with slim claws), Orange Claw males (rapidly growing, blue legs, and golden orange claws), and Blue Claw males (large, with very long second walking legs, slow growth, blue legs and claws). This sequence is influenced by social factors. Orange Claw males only metamorphose when they become larger than the largest Blue Claw males in the vicinity. Blue Claw males are socially dominant and suppress the growth of Orange Claw males (Barki et al. 1991; Food and Agriculture Organization 2011).

The two very similar species M. rosenbergii (formerly M. dacqueti) and M. wallacei (formerly M. rosenbergii) were separated by morphological discriminant analysis of morphometrics (body proportions and numerical features). The most influential factors in separating the species were the height of the base of the rostrum and the number of ventral teeth (18-14, mode = 12 for M. wallacei; 8-15, mode =13 for M. rosenbergii) (Wowor and Ng 2007). See the comments below for the complicated history of names in these two species.

Macrobrachium rosenbergii was originally described from Andai, New Guinea by De Man in 1879. Wowor and Ng (2007), using morphological discriminant analysis have separated the shrimps previously identified as M. rosenbergii into two species, the M. rosenbergii of De Man, ranging from the Philippines and the lesser Sunda Islands to New Guinea and Australia, and M. dacqueti, ranging from Sri Lanka to Java and southern China. Unfortunately, the widely cultured form, in Indonesia, and through the world's tropics was M. dacqueti. Because of the wide use of the name rosenbergii, Wowor and Ng (2007) petitioned the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature to apply this name to the Asian-West Indonesian form which they have identified as M. dacqueti, and created a new name (M. wallacei) for the East Indonesian-Philippine-Australian species typified by De Man as 'rosenbergii’ (Wowor and Ng 2007). The commission granted this petition in 2010 and the name 'rosenbergii' now applies to the widely reared form, formerly M. daqueti (ICZN Opinion 2253 - Case 3428).


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Arthropoda
Subphylum:   Crustacea
Class:   Malacostraca
Subclass:   Eumalacostraca
Superorder:   Eucarida
Order:   Decapoda
Suborder:   Pleocyemata
Infraorder:   Caridea
Family:   Palaemonidae
SubFamily:   Palaemoninae
Genus:   Macrobrachium
Species:   rosenbergii


Cryphiops rosenbergii (De Man, 1879)
Macrobrachium dacqueti (Sunier, 1925)
Palaemon rosenbergii (De Man, 1879)
Palaemon carcinus rosenbergii (Ortmann, 1891)

Potentially Misidentified Species

Macrbrachium wallacei
This is the species originally described as M. rosenbergii, native from Indonesia to Australia, and shown to be distinct from the widely reared aquaculture shrimp, formerly known as M. daqueti (Wowor and Ng 2007).

Macrobrachium acanthurus
Widespread but rare in Southeast US coastal estuarine and fresh waters, NC-TX (Bowles et al. 2000)

Macrobrachium carcinus
Widespread but rare in Southeast US coastal estuarine and fresh waters, FL, MS, TX (Bowles et al. 2000)

Macrobrachium dacqueti
This species was considered a synonym or subspecies of M. rosenbergii, but was given distinct species status by Wowor and Ng (2007), and found to by them be the correct name for the species widely cultured as M. rosenbergii. It ranges from eastern Pakistan to Sumatra, Borneo and southern China. Given the economic importance of this shrimp, they have petitioned to have the name 'rosenbergii' transferred to M. dacqueti.

Macrobrachium faustinum
In US, collected only in Florida (Bowles et al. 2000)

Macrobrachium heterochirus
In US, collected only in Florida (Bowles et al. 2000)

Macrobrachium lar
Indo-Pacific species, introduced and established in Hawaii (Carlton and Eldredge 2009)

Macrobrachium macrobrachion
ntroduced, African, 1 collection known from Indian River Lagoon, Florida

Macrobrachium ohione
Native, Virginia-Texas, formerly ranged far up Mississippi (Bowles et al. 2000)



Life History- In caridean shrimp, the copulating pair is usually oriented at right angles to one another, with the genital regions opposing each other. The modified first and second pairs of pleopods are used to transfer a spermatophore to a receptacle between the thoracic legs of the female (Barnes 1983). After mating, female M. rosenbergii carry broods of fertilized eggs on their abdomen and migrate into brackish water. Females in Brazil had a mean fecundity of 55,000 eggs (Iketani et al. 2016). The eggs hatch into planktonic larvae with feathery appendages, called zoeae. Zoeae of caridean shrimps, such as M. rosenbergii, lack the prominent spines seen in brachyuran crabs, and look quite shrimplike (Food and Agricultural Organization 2011). They go through 11 molts and metamorphose into postlarvae, which have well-developed walking legs, and spend a lot of their time on bottom and vertical surfaces. Postlarvae tend to migrate upstream into fresh water. After a subsequent molt, the body takes on the adult shape. Under aquaculture conditions, larval development to postlarva takes 16 to 35 days (Food and Agricultural Organization 2011).

Trophic Status:




General HabitatNontidal FreshwaterNone
General HabitatFresh (nontidal) MarshNone
General HabitatGrass BedNone
General HabitatCoarse Woody DebrisNone
General HabitatSwampNone
Salinity RangeLimnetic0-0.5 PSU
Salinity RangeOligohaline0.5-5 PSU
Salinity RangeMesohaline5-18 PSU
Vertical HabitatEpibenthicNone
Vertical HabitatNektonicNone

Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Minimum Temperature (ºC)16Experimental temperatures (Woodley et al. 2002)
Maximum Temperature (ºC)42Experimental temperatures (Woodley et al. 2002)
Minimum Salinity (‰)0This is a catadromous animal, dwelling in freshwater as adult
Maximum Salinity (‰)25In aquaculture (New 1995, cited by Yen and Bart 2008)
Minimum Dissolved Oxygen (mg/l)0.5Animals are stressed below 2 mg/L (Woodley et al. 2002)
Minimum Reproductive Temperature22Tidwell et al. 2005
Maximum Reproductive Temperature32Tidwell et al. 2005
Minimum Reproductive Salinity5In aquaculture, lowest tested (Hangsapreurke et al. 2008)
Maximum Reproductive Salinity25In aquaculture, highest tested, Hangsapreurke et al. 2008
Minimum Duration16Larval development, unspecified aquaculture (Food and Agriculture Organization 2011)
Maximum Duration35Larval development, unspecified aquaculture (Food and Agriculture Organization 2011)
Maximum Length (mm)320Total body length (Food and Agriculture Organization 2011)
Broad Temperature RangeNoneSubtropical-Tropical
Broad Salinity RangeNoneLimnetic-Polyhaline

General Impacts

Macrobrachium rosenbergii is widely cultured in subtropical and tropical regions around the world, usually in coastal areas, with access to brackish water needed for this shrimps reproduction. World production exceeds 200,000 tonnes per year (Food and Agricultural organization 2011). In spite of frequent escapes, 'Macrobrachium rosenbergii is generally considered an ecologically harmless nonindigenous species because of its well documented non-aggressive behavior' (Williams 2001). However, several established populations are known, and their impacts have not yet been studied.

Regional Impacts

SA-IVNoneEconomic ImpactFisheries
Macrobrachium rosenbergii is now well-established on the Amzoan coast of Braxil in coastal fresh-oligohaline river waters, and now supports small local fisheties (Iketani et al. 2016).

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
EAS-II None 1925 Native Estab
EAS-I None 0 Native Estab
EAS-VI None 0 Native Estab
CIO-IV None 0 Native Estab
CIO-II None 0 Native Estab
NWP-2 None 0 Native Estab
CAR-III None 1980 Def Estab
CAR-I Northern Yucatan, Gulf of Mexico, Florida Straits, to Middle Eastern Florida 2001 Def Unk
G170 West Mississippi Sound 2001 Def Unk
SP-XXI None 1965 Def Unk
CAR-IV None 1991 Def Estab
SA-II None 2007 Def Unk
SA-IV None 1997 Def Estab
SP-XII None 1992 Def Unk
SP-XIII None 1972 Crypto Estab
EA-III None 2017 Def Estab
SEP-I None 1978 Def Estab

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude


Barki, A; Karplus, I.; Goren, M. (1991) Morphotype related dominance hierarchies in males of Macrobrachium rosenbergii (Crustacea, Palaemonidae), Behaviour 117(3/4): 145-160

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

Bowles, David E., Aziz, Karim, Knight, Charles L. (2000) Macrobrachium (Decapoda: Caridea: Palaemonidae) in the contiguous United States: A review of the species and an assessment of threats to their survival, Journal of Crustacean Biology 20(1): 158-171

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

Cintra, Israel Hidenburgo Aniceto; Silva, Kátia Cristina de Araújo; Muniz, Anna Paula Malcher (2003) Ocorrência de Macrobrachium rosenbergii (De Man, 1879) em áreas estuarinas do estado do Pará (Crustacea, Decapoda, Palaemonidae), Boletim tecnico-cientifico do CEPNOR 3(1): 219-227

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

2011 Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme: <i>Macrobrachium rosenbergii</i> (De Man, 1879).

Gazola-Silva; F. F. ; Melo, S. G.; Vitule, J. R. S. S. G. MELO 3 & J. R. S. VITULE (2007) [Macrobrachium rosenbergii (Decapoda: Palaemonidae): possible introduction in a coastal river of Paraná (Brazil)], Acta Biológica Paranaense 36(1-4): 83-90

Hangsapreurke, Krasindh and 5 authors (2008) Embryonic development, hatching, mineral consumption, and survival of Macrobrachium rosenbergii (de Man) reared in artificial seawater in closed recirculating water system at different levels of salinity, Maejo International Journal of Science and Technology 2(3): 471-482

Iketani, Gabriel; Aviz, Manoel Alessandro Borges; Maciel, Cristiana; Valenti, Wagner; Schneider, Horacio; Sampaio, Iracilda (2016) Successful invasion of the Amazon Coast by the giant river prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii: evidence of a reproductively viable population, Aquaitc Invasions 11: In press

Kuris, Armand M.; Ra'anan, Ziva; Sagi, Amir; Cohen, Dan (1987) Morphotypic differentiation of male Malaysian Giant Prawns, Macrobrachium rosenbergii, Journal of Crustacean Biology 7(2): 219-237

Loebmann, Daniel; Mai, Ana Cecília G.; Lee, James T. (2010) The invasion of five alien species in the Delta do Parnaíba Environmental Protection Area, Northeastern Brazil, Revista de Biologia Tropical 58(3): 909-923

Magalhaes, Celio and 7 authors (2005) Exotic species of freshwater decapod crustaceans in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil: records and possible causes of their introduction., Biodiversity and Conservation 14: 1929-1945

McVey, James P. (1975) New record of Macrobrachium rosenbergii (de Man) in the Palau islands (Decapoda, Palaemonidae), Crustaceana 29(1): 31-32

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

Perry, Harriet; Yeager, David (2006) <missing title>, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory- University of Southern Mississiuppi, Ocean Springs MS. Pp. 8

Rodriguez, Gilberto; Suarez, Hector (2001) Anthropogenic dispersal of record of decapod crustaceans in aquatic environments, Interciencia 26(7): 282-288

Silva-Oliveira and 6 authors (2011) The invasive status of Macrobrachium rosenbergii (De Man, 1879) in Northern Brazil, with an estimation of areas at risk globally, Aquatic Invasions 6(3): 319-328

Tidwell, James H.; D’Abramo, Louis R.; Coyle, Shawn D.; Yasharian, David (2005) Overview of recent research and development in temperate culture of the freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii De Man) in the South Central United States, Aquaculture Research 36: 264-277

2003-2015 Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, FL.

Williams, Austin B. (1984) Shrimps, Lobsters, and Crabs of the Atlantic Coast of the Eastern United States, Maine to Florida, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. Pp. <missing location>

Williams, Ernest H. Jr.; Bunkley-Williams,Lucy; ilyestrom, Craig G. L; Ortiz-Corps, Edgardo A. R. (2001) A review of recent introductions of aquatic invertebrates in Puerto Rico and implications for the management of nonindigenous species., Caribbean Journal of Science 37(3-4): 246-251

Woodley, Christa M.; Slack, William T.; Peterson, Mark S.; Vervaeke, William C. (2002) Occurrence of the non-indigenous giant Malaysian prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii (de Man 1879) in Simmons Bayou, Mississippi, USA., Crustaceana 75(8): 1025-1031

Wowor, Daisy; Ng, Peter K. L. (2007) The giant freshwater prawns of the Macrobrachium rosenbergii species complex (Crustacea: Decapoda: Caridea: Palaemonida)., Zoologische Verhandlingen Leiden 55(2): 321-336

Yen, Pham Truong; Bart, Amrit N. (2008) Salinity effects on reproduction of giant freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii (de Man), Aquaculture 280: 124-128

Zambrano, René; Ramos, John (2021) Alien crustacean species recorded in Ecuador, Nauplius 29: e2021043