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Freshwater Shrimp – Species Guide

Macrobrachium rosenbergii - species guide for seafood trade professionals. View info, suppliers, and more.

Market Name: Freshwater Shrimp
Scientific Name: Macrobrachium rosenbergii
Common Names: Giant freshwater prawn, Malaysian prawn, Hawaiian blue prawn, giant river prawn, Ebi, Scampi.
French Name: Bouquet géant
German Name: Rosenberg-Garnele, Felsengarnele
Japanese Name: Onitenagaebi, Ebi.
Spanish Name: Camarón gigante
Sustainability: Ocean Wise Seafood

Overview

The freshwater shrimp most common to Western markets is the giant M. rosenbergii, also known as giant river prawn. It is found wild from Pakistan and northwest India to Malaysia, New Guinea, the Philippines and northern Australia and is farmed in freshwater areas throughout the world. In the United States, it is commercially farmed in Hawaii and experimentally in some southern states, notably Tennessee. This fast-growing shrimp can reach a weight of 4 to 6 ounces. In the wild, it can attain lengths of over 1 foot. In cultured ponds, it is generally harvested at 6 to 7 inches, or about six prawns per pound, head-on. There are limited markets for live or fresh giant prawns; most are sold as frozen tails.

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Appearance

M. rosenbergii can grow to a length over 30 cm (12 in). They are predominantly brownish in colour, but can vary. Smaller individuals may be greenish and display faint vertical stripes. The rostrum is very prominent and contains 11 to 14 dorsal teeth and 8 to 11 ventral teeth. The first pair of walking legs (pereiopods) is elongated and very thin, ending in delicate claws (chelipeds), which are used as feeding appendages. The second pair of walking legs are much larger and powerful, especially in males. The movable claws of the second pair of walking legs are distinctively covered in dense bristles (setae) that give them a velvety appearance. The color of the claws in males varies according to their social dominance.

Females can be distinguished from males by their wider abdomens and smaller second pereiopods. The genital openings are found on the body segments containing the fifth pereiopods and the third pereiopods in males and females, respectively.

Where They Live

Found wild from Pakistan and northwest India to Malaysia, New Guinea, the Philippines and northern Australia and is farmed in freshwater areas throughout the world.

SourceUN FAO
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