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Giant Tiger Prawn – Species Overview

Penaeus monodon

Market Name: Giant Tiger Prawn
Scientific Name: Penaeus monodon
Common Names: Asian tiger shrimp, Black Tiger Prawn, Black tiger shrimp, Ebi, Shrimp, Tiger prawn, Tiger shrimp, Jumbo tiger shrimp.
French Name: Crevette
German Name: Garnele
Italian Name: Gambero
Japanese Name: Ebi
Spanish Name: Camarón
Sustainability: Ocean Wise Seafood


Penaeus monodon, commonly known as the giant tiger prawn, Asian tiger shrimp, black tiger shrimp, and other names, is a marine crustacean that is widely reared for food.

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Females can reach about 33 cm (13 in) long, but are typically 25–30 cm (10–12 in) long and weigh 200–320 g (7–11 oz); males are slightly smaller at 20–25 cm (8–10 in) long and weighing 100–170 g (3.5–6.0 oz). The carapace and abdomen are transversely banded with alternative red and white. The antennae are grayish brown. Brown pereiopods and pleopods are present with fringing setae in red.

Where They Live

Its natural distribution is the Indo-Pacific, ranging from the eastern coast of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, as far as Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean, and northern Australia.

It is an invasive species in the northern waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean off the Southern U.S.

They mainly occur in Southeastern Asia, but are widely found. Juveniles of P. monodon are generally found in sandy estuaries and mangroves, and upon adulthood, they move to deeper waters (0- 110 meters) and live on muddy or rocky bottoms.


P. monodon is the second-most widely cultured prawn species in the world, after only whiteleg shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei. In 2009, 770,000 tonnes were produced, with a total value of US$3,650,000,000. P. monodon makes up nearly 50% of cultured shrimp alone.

The prawn is popular to culture because of its tolerance to salinity and very quick growth rate. However, they are very vulnerable to fungal, viral, and bacterial infections. Diseases such as white spot disease and yellowhead disease have led to a great economic impact in shrimp industries around the globe. They can receive transmitted diseases from other crustaceans such as the Australian red claw crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus), which is susceptible to yellowhead disease and has shown to transmit it to P. monodon in Thailand.

Since black tiger shrimp are susceptible to many diseases, this engenders economic constraints towards the black tiger shrimp food industry in Australia, which is farm-raised. To confront such challenges, attempts have been made to selectively breed specific pathogen-resistant lines of black tiger shrimp.

P. monodon has been farmed throughout the world, including areas such as West Africa, Hawaii, Tahiti, and England. For optimal growth, P. monodon is raised in waters between 28 and 33°C. Characteristically for the Penaeus genus, P. monodon has a natural ability to survive and grow in a wide range of salinity, though its optimal salinity is around 15-25 ppt. While in a farm setting, the shrimp are typically fed a compound diet, which is produced in dried pellets. By mixing the diet to have compound feeds and fresh feed, P. monodon was shown to have better reproductive performance.

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