Ecology: Macrobrachium rosenbergii are a nocturnal benthic (bottom dwelling) prawn found as adults in freshwater lakes and rivers (Raman 1967). However, M. rosenbergii larva and possibly juveniles are found in estuaries where they metamorphosis prior to upstream migration to freshwaters (Bowles et al. 2000). During the day, the species will remain half buried in sediments and prefers shallow, detritus rich and vegetated areas. The prawns are capable of walking on the substrate, on land at water edges, and up vertical surfaces such as small waterfalls (FAO, 2005–2012). Macrobrachium rosenbergii are carnivorous during the first larval stages but become more omnivorous towards juvenile stages, feeding on plants, algae, mollusks, worms, and fish (Barros and Valenti 1997).
Mating occurs between soft-shelled females and hard-shelled males continuously or periodically, depending on their geographical distribution (New et al. 2000). Males deposit a packet of sperm (spermatophore) on the female where they are then fertilized externally. After fertilization, the eggs remain adhered to the female’s abdomen during embryotic development (New et al. 2000). The gravid females migrate downstream to the estuary where the eggs hatch as free-swimming larvae (FAO, 2005–2012). Females, in Brazilian populations, had on average 55,000 eggs, with a minimum of 9,086 and a maximum of 192,172 eggs, and will continuously spawn (Iketani et al. 2016). The newly hatched larvae pass through 11 molts in 35 days in the estuary to become postlarval (less than one-half inch in length), then migrate back upstream to become adults (Wynne, 2000).
References: (click for full references)
Barros, H. P., and W. C. Valenti. 1997. Comportamento alimentar do camarão de água doce, Macrobrachium rosenbergii (de man) (crustacea, palaemonidae) durante a fase larval: análise qualitativa. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia 14:785-793.
Bowles, D. E., K. Aziz and C. L. Knight. 2000. Macrobrachium (Decapoda: Caridea: Palaemonidae) in the contiguous United States: a review of the species and assessment of threats to their survival. Journal of Crustacean Biology 29: 158-171.
Devick, W.S. 1991. Pattern of introductions of aquatic organisms to Hawaii freshwater habitats. Pages 189-213 IN: New directions in research, management and conservations of Hawaiian freshwater stream ecosystems. Proceedings of 1990 Symposium on Freshwater Stream Biology and Fisheries. Division of Aquatic Resources, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2005—2012, Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme — Macrobrachium rosenbergii — Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme, Text by New, M.B., IN: FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department [online], Rome, Updated 1 January 2004. Also available at http://www.fao.org/fishery/culturedspecies/Macrobrachium_rosenbergii/en Accessed 5/24/2012.
Hameed, A. S. S., M. X. Charles and M. Anilkumar. 2000. Tolerance of Macrobrachium rosenbergii to white spot syndrome virus. Aquaculture 183: 207-213.
Iketani, G., Aviz, M. A. B., Maciel, C., Valenti, W., Schneider, H., and I. Sampaio. 2016. Successful invasion of the Amazon Coast by the giant river prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii: evidence of a reproductively viable population. Aquatic Invasions 11(3):277-286.
Jayachandran, K.V. 2001. Palaemonid prawns: biodiversity, taxonomy, biology and management. Scientific Publishers, Inc, Enfield, NH.
Mather, P.B., and M. de Bruyn. 2003. Genetic diversity in wild stocks of the giant freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii): implications for aquaculture and conservation. Naja 26(4):4—7.
New, M. B., Valenti, W. C., Tidwell, J. H., D’Abramo, L. R., and M. N. Kutty. 2000. Freshwater prawns biology and farming. Wiley-Blackwell, Ames, IA.
Savaya-Alkalay, A., Ovadia, O., Barki, A., and A. Sagi. 2018. Size-selective predation by all-male prawns: implications for sustainable biocontrol of snail invasions. Biological Invasions 20:137–149.
Staples, G. W. and R. H. Cowie (editors). 2001. Hawai'i's Invasive Species. Mutual Publishing, Honolulu. 116 pp.
Williams, E. H., Jr., L. Bunkley-Williams, C. G. Lilyestrom, and E. A. R. Ortiz-Corps. 2001. A review of recent introductions of aquatic invertebrates in Puerto Rico and implications for the management of exotic species. Caribbean Journal of Science 37: 246-251.
Woodley, C. M., W. T. Slack, M. S. Peterson and W. Vervaeke. 2002. Occurrence of the non-indigenous giant Malaysian prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii (De Man, 1879) in Simmons Bayou, Mississippi, U.S.A. Crustaceana 75: 1025-1031.
Wynne, F. 2000. Grow-out culture of freshwater prawns in Kentucky, Mayfield. Kentucky, Kentucky State University Cooperative Extension Program. Also available at: http://web.archive.org/web/20080821114126/http://www.aquanic.org/publicat/state/ky/prawn_ext.htm Accessed 5/25/2012.
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.