The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Penaeus monodon
Penaeus monodon
(Asian tiger shrimp)

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Penaeus monodon

Common name: Asian tiger shrimp

Synonyms and Other Names: Black Tiger Shrimp, Giant Tiger Shrimp, Giant Tiger Prawn

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Mature tiger shrimp caught in the wild can be distinguished from native American penaeid shrimp by their overall rusty brown color and the distinctive black and white banding across their back and on their tail. There is also a rarely seen color variant of the species with a conspicuous, wide, reddish-orange stripe along its back.

Size: up to 30 cm and 320 g (females larger than males of same age)

Native Range: Indo-West Pacific oceans including East Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and Australia (FAO 2011; McCann et al. 1996).

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: Nearly 300 tiger shrimp were collected off the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida in the three months after the August, 1988 accidental release of roughly 2,000 animals from an aquaculture facility in South Carolina. In September 2006, 18 years later, a single adult male was captured by a commercial shrimp fisherman in Mississippi Sound near Dauphin Island, Alabama (L. Hartman, pers. comm.). A month later, five specimens were collected in Pamlico Sound, North Carolina (T. Moore, pers. comm.). A single specimen was caught in in August, 2007 in Vermilion Bay, Louisiana (H. Blanchet, pers. comm.), and several more were reported from Florida and both Carolinas shortly thereafter. The first documented collections in Georgia, Mississippi and Texas occurred in 2008, 2009 and 2011, respectively. The species has now been found from North Carolina to Texas. Although the number of reports is high (314 from 2006-2011), the number of individuals ranges from 1-15 and averages just slightly greater than one specimen per report. Penaeus monodon was one of six species of penaeid shrimp transported to Hawaii for aquaculture and research between 1978-1991. Some individuals escaped from culture ponds during flooding, but no populations are thought to be established (Eldredge 1994).

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Penaeus monodon are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
AL200620165Mississippi Coastal; Mobile Bay; Mobile-Tensaw; Northern Gulf of Mexico; Perdido Bay
FL1988202217Cape Canaveral; Carolinian; Charlotte Harbor; Choctawhatchee Bay; Crystal-Pithlachascotee; Daytona-St. Augustine; Florida Bay-Florida Keys; Florida Southeast Coast; Floridian; Lower St. Johns; Nassau; Northern Gulf of Mexico; Pensacola Bay; Sarasota Bay; St. Andrew-St. Joseph Bays; St. Marys; Vero Beach
GA198820225Altamaha; Carolinian; Cumberland-St. Simons; Lower Savannah; Ogeechee Coastal
LA2007202210East Central Louisiana Coastal; Eastern Louisiana Coastal; Lake Pontchartrain; Lower Calcasieu; Lower Mississippi-New Orleans; Mermentau; Mississippi Coastal; Northern Gulf of Mexico; Vermilion; West Central Louisiana Coastal
MA202320231Cape Cod
MS200920223Mississippi Coastal; Northern Gulf of Mexico; Pascagoula
NC200620239Albemarle; Carolinian; Coastal Carolina; Lower Cape Fear; Lower Neuse; New River; Pamlico; Pamlico Sound; White Oak River
PR201220121Greater Antilles
SC1988202313Broad-St. Helena; Bulls Bay; Calibogue Sound-Wright River; Carolina Coastal-Sampit; Carolinian; Coastal Carolina; Cooper; Edisto River; Little Pee Dee; Salkehatchie; Santee; South Carolina Coastal; St. Helena Island
TX201120156Aransas Bay; East Galveston Bay; East San Antonio Bay; Sabine Lake; West Galveston Bay; West Matagorda Bay

Table last updated 7/23/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: In their native range, tiger shrimp mature and breed in tropical marine habitats. Larvae, juveniles and sub-adults occupy shallow coastal estuaries, lagoons, and mangrove areas. Sub-adults subsequently move offshore, where they mature and breed, living on sand or muddy-sand bottom in up to 110 m water depth (Holthuis 1980). Temperature is an important environmental variable that influences not only the success of P. monodon culture, but also the survival and dispersal of wild P. monodon in areas where it is introduced. Survival and growth are optimal at temperatures between 28°C and 33°C, but growth is unlikely below 20°C (Lumare et al. 1993). Lethal extremes are not definitively known, although mortality has been reported at temperatures <13°C and >33°C (Jintoni unpublished). A rapid growth rate and broad tolerance to salinity (2-30‰, FAO 2011) have contributed to the success of this species in aquaculture. However, these are also characteristics that enable it to invade new areas.

Means of Introduction: Although production has declined over the past decade, during the 1970s and 80s global production of farmed Penaeus monodon exceeded all other shrimp species. Tiger shrimp were widely farmed outside of their native range where conditions were suitable, including West Africa and various locations throughout the Caribbean. In the US, the last attempt to culture tiger shrimp occurred in Florida in 2004 (Salisbury 2004); however, a successful harvest was not achieved there (Knott pers. comm.). Peer-reviewed documentation does not exist, but it is believed that wild populations have become established along the coasts of West Africa from Senegal to northern Angola, in South America from Guyana to Colombia, and off the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean (Knott pers. comm.). Introductions of tiger shrimp into the southeastern US are most likely explained by escapement from aquaculture facilities following flooding by storms and hurricanes, or through migration from areas where tiger shrimp have previously become established in the wild. Although they are less probable, other pathways of introduction (e.g. ballast water discharge) are also possible.hurricanes.

Status: Although the annual numbers of reported tiger shrimp may reflect, to some degree, a greater effort to document their occurrence, they also suggest that there has been an actual increase in abundance along the southeastern US coast over the past five years. Six individuals were collected in 2006, four in 2007, 21 in 2008, 47 in 2009, 32 in 2010 (Knott pers. comm. and NAS records), and 591 in 2011 (with 257 in North Carolina alone - K. Hart, personal communication). Considering this increase, it is likely that a breeding population may be present.

Impact of Introduction:
Summary of species impacts derived from literature review. Click on an icon to find out more...


Currently, the impacts of this invasive shrimp on the native fauna in areas where it has been introduced are uncertain. However, the Asian tiger shrimp feeds on a variety of invertebrates (inlcuding crabs, shrimp, bivalves and gastropods) and grows much larger than native U.S. coastal shrimp, so intense predation on native fauna in introduced ranges is a concern(Marte 1980; Hill rt al. 2017; Fuller et al. 2014). Tiger shrimp also carry a number of viral diseases and are capable of transmitting them to other crustaceans, which could impact native populations were a novel virus introduced (Fuller et al. 2014).

Remarks: A team of researchers from the USGS, NOAA, the SC Dept of Natural Resources and several independent scientists are currently attempting to discover the source(s) of the tiger shrimp that are appearing along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the US. In the fall of 2011, they began gathering specimens and archiving tissue for genetic analyses, as they attempt to learn more about the origin and status of this invader in the Western Atlantic.

References: (click for full references)

Eldredge, L.B. 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, Noumea, New Caledonia.

FAO. 2011. Penaeus monodon (Fabricus, 1798). FAO, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. http://www.fao.org/fishery/culturedspecies/Penaeus_monodon/en. Accessed 1/22/2012.

Fuller, P.L., D.M. Knott, P.R. Kingsley-Smith, J.A. Morris, C.A. Buckel, M.E. Hunter, and L.D. Hartman. 2014. Invasion of Asian tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon Fabricius, 1798, in the western north Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Aquatic Invasions 9(1):59-70.

Hill, J. M., Caretti, O. N., and K. L. Heck Jr. 2017. Recently established Asian tiger shrimp Penaeus monodon Fabricius, 1798 consume juvenile blue crabs Callinectes sapidus Rathbun, 1896 and polychaetes in a laboratory diet-choice experiment. BioInvasions Record, 6(3).

Holthuis, L.B. 1980. FAO species catalogue. Shrimps and prawns of the world. An annotated catalogue of species of interest to fisheries. FAO Fisheries Synopsis 125, volume 1. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States, Rome.

Jintoni, B. unpublished. Water quality requirements for Penaeus monodon culture in Malaysia. Department of Fisheries Technical Reference No. 2, Department of Fisheries, Sabah, Malaysia. http://www.fishdept.sabah.gov.my/techrefs.asp. Accessed 1/5/2012.

Knott, D.M. 2011. Personal communication. Marine Resources Research Institute, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Charleston, South Carolina.

Lumare, F., P. Di Muro, L. Tenderini, and V. Zupo. 1993. Experimental intensive culture of Penaeus monodon in the cold-temperate climate of the north-east coast of Italy (a fishery ‘valle’ of the River Po Delta). Aquaculture 113:231-241.

Marte, C.L. 1980. The food and feeding habit of Penaeus monodon Fabricius collected from Makato River, Aklan, Philippines (Decapoda Natantia). Crustaceana 38:225-236.

McCann, J.A., L.N. Arkin, and J.D. Williams. 1996. Nonindigenous aquatic and selected terrestrial species of Florida. Report to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DC.

Salisbury, S. 2004. Indian River Aquaculture growing black tiger shrimp in Florida. Palm Beach Post. August 16, 2004.

Author: Knott, D.M., P.L. Fuller, A.J. Benson, and M.E. Neilson

Revision Date: 8/22/2019

Citation Information:
Knott, D.M., P.L. Fuller, A.J. Benson, and M.E. Neilson, 2024, Penaeus monodon: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=1209, Revision Date: 8/22/2019, Access Date: 7/23/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/23/2024].

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