Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record: 1960
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record:
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record: 1960

General Invasion History:

Potimirim potimirim is a freshwater shrimp native to Brazil from Rio Itajai, Santa Catarina north to Rio Gurjau, Recife, Pernambuco State, Brazil, and from Atlantic drainages in Central America (Abele 1972; de Almeida et al. 2008). Two collections, made in 1972, of shrimp identified as this species, from the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, are in the National Museum of Natural History collections (USNM 169709; USNM 169710, US National Museum of Natural History 2009). These appear to represent introductions from Brazil, if identified correctly. This shrimp is tolerant of salinities of at least 23 PSU (Gore et al. 1978), but natural dispersal to the Caribbean and Florida is unlikely.

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the East Coast:

In 1960, Potimirim potimirim was collected in freshwater canals in the Indian River Lagoon drainage near Jupiter, Florida. An additional collection was made nearby in 1971 (Abele 1972). In 1977, P. potimirim was collected again in freshwater canals draining into the Indian River Lagoon (Gore et al. 1978), about 100 km north, near Vero Beach (Gore et al. 1978). A third collection was made in Reed Canal, draining the Halifax lagoon, near Daytona Beach (Beck 1979). All of these collections included ovigerous females, suggesting that a reproductive population was established. However, we are not aware of captures of this shrimp since 1979, so it is possible that it may have died out due to cold weather or another cause. Likely vectors include strays from the tropical fish or aquatic plant industry, which operates many fish and plant farms in the area (Abele 1972; Gore et al. 1978).


Potimirim potimirim is a freshwater caridean shrimp. As is typical of this group, the lower part of the 2nd abdominal segment is expanded and overlaps the 1st and 3rd segments. The rostrum is comparatively short, and smooth on the dorsal surface, while the ventral surface bears two small teeth. The antenna is relatively short, about equal to the length of the carapace, and bears an unsegmented flagellum of about equal length. The first two walking legs have chelae (movable claws). This shrimp is brown, with scattered yellowish areas. A longitudinal stripe runs along the median dorsal surface. The telson has bands of brown and gold. Live specimens turn blue when excited. The largest specimen found in Florida waters was an ovigerous female at 28.5 mm total length (Abele 1972; Gore et al. 1978; de Almeida et al. 2008).


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Arthropoda
Subphylum:   Crustacea
Class:   Malacostraca
Subclass:   Eumalacostraca
Superorder:   Eucarida
Order:   Decapoda
Suborder:   Pleocyemata
Infraorder:   Caridea
Family:   Atyidae
Genus:   Potimirim
Species:   potimirim


Potentially Misidentified Species

Potimirim glabra
native to Atlantic drainages from Central America and West Indies south to Santa Catarina, Brazil, and Pacific drainages from Mexico to Ecuador.

Potimirim mexicana
native from Mexico to Costa Rica and West Indies



Life History- In caridean shrimps, 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 palemonid and atyid shrimps carry broods of fertilized eggs on their abdomen. These hatch into planktonic larvae with feathery appendages, called zoeae. Zoeae of shrimps lack the prominent spines seen in brachyuran crabs, and look quite shrimplike (Johnson and Allen 2005). They go through several molts and metamorphose into postlarvae, which have well-developed walking legs and pleopods (swimmerets). After a subsequent molt, the body takes on the adult shape. Larvae of P. potimirim were raised by Gore et al. (1978) through stage III zoeae, but did not reach metamorphosis. To our knowledge, the larvae have not been described.

Ecology- Potimirim potimirim is a freshwater shrimp, inhabiting small freshwater streams and vegetated edges of rivers (de Almeida et al. 2008). It is known from estuaries (Teixera and Helio 1998) and its larvae tolerate salinities as high as 23 PSU (Gore et al. 1978).

Trophic Status:




General HabitatNontidal FreshwaterNone
General HabitatCanalsNone
General HabitatFresh (nontidal) MarshNone
General HabitatGrass BedNone
General HabitatCoarse Woody DebrisNone
General HabitatSwampNone
General HabitatTidal Fresh MarshNone
General HabitatSalt-brackish marshNone
General HabitatUnstructured BottomNone
Salinity RangeLimnetic0-0.5 PSU
Salinity RangeOligohaline0.5-5 PSU
Salinity RangePolyhaline18-30 PSU
Tidal RangeSubtidalNone
Vertical HabitatEpibenthicNone
Vertical HabitatNektonicNone

Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Minimum Salinity (‰)0This is primarily a freshwater shrimp (Abele 1972)
Maximum Salinity (‰)23Highest salinity tested for lab-reared zoeae (Gore et al. 1979)
Maximum Length (mm)28.6Florida (Abele 1972)
Broad Temperature RangeNoneSubtropical-tropical
Broad Salinity RangeNoneNontidal Limnetic-Polyhaline

General Impacts

Potimirim potimirim appears to have briefly established breeding populations in Florida canals, but did not persist. It had no reported ecological or economic impacts.

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
S190 Indian River 1960 Def Unk
S183 _CDA_S183 (Daytona-St. Augustine) 1979 Def Unk

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude


Abele, Lawrence E. (1972) Introductions of two freshwater decapod crustaceans (Hymenosomatidae and Atyidae) into Central and North America, Crustaceana 23(3): 209-218

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

Beck, J. Thomas (1979) A third occurrence of the introduced atyid shrimp, Potimirim potimrim, in Florida., Florida Scientist 42(4): 256

de Almeida, Alexandre Oliveira and 5 authors (2008) Decapod crustaceans in fresh waters of southeastern Bahia, Brazil, International Journal of Tropical Biology 56(3): 1225-1254

Gore, Robert H.; Kulczycki, George R.; Hastings, Philip A. (1978) A second occurrence of the Brazilian freshwater shrimp, Potimirim potimirim, along the central eastern Florida coast, Florida Scientist 41: 57-60

Johnson, William S.; Allen, Dennis M. (2005) <missing title>, Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore. Pp. <missing location>

Teixeira, Rogério L.; Sá, Hélio S. (1998) [Abundance of decapod macrocrustaceans occupying the shallow waters of a tropical estuary], Revista Brasileira da Biologia 58(3): 393-404