Invasion of Asian tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon Fabricius, 1798, in the western north Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico

Aquatic Invasions

, , , , , , and



After going unreported in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean for 18 years (1988 to 2006), the Asian tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon, has recently reappeared in the South Atlantic Bight and, for the first time ever, in the Gulf of Mexico. Potential vectors and sources of this recent invader include: 1) discharged ballast water from its native range in Asia or other areas where it has become established; 2) transport of larvae from established non-native populations in the Caribbean or South America via ocean currents; or 3) escape and subsequent migration from active aquaculture facilities in the western Atlantic. This paper documents recent collections of P. monodon from the South Atlantic Bight and the Gulf of Mexico, reporting demographic and preliminary phylogenetic information for specimens collected between North Carolina and Texas from 2006 through 2012. The increased number of reports in 2011 and 2012, ranging from 102 mm to 298 mm total length, indicates that an adult population is present in densities sufficient for breeding, which is indicative of incipient establishment. Based on these reports of P. monodon, its successful invasion elsewhere, and its life history, we believe that this species will become common in the South Atlantic Bight and Gulf of Mexico in less than 10 years. Penaeus monodon is an aggressive predator in its native range and, if established, may prey on native shrimps, crabs, and bivalves. The impacts of an established P. monodon population are potentially widespread (e.g., alterations in local commercial fisheries, direct and indirect pressures on native shrimp, crab and bivalve populations, and subsequent impacts on the populations of other predators of those organisms) and should be considered by resource managers. The impacts of P. monodon on native fauna and the source(s) or vector(s) of the invasion, however, remain unknown at this time.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Invasion of Asian tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon Fabricius, 1798, in the western north Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico
Series title:
Aquatic Invasions
Year Published:
Regional Euro-Asian Biological Invasions Centre
Contributing office(s):
Southeast Ecological Science Center
12 p.
Larger Work Type:
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Aquatic Invasions
First page:
Last page:
United States
Other Geospatial:
Atlantic Ocean;Gulf Of Mexico;South Atlantic Bight