Brown Shrimp Species

Farfantepenaeus aztecus

POPULATION

Above target population levels.

BYCATCH

Regulations are in place to minimize bycatch.

AVAILABILITY

Year-round, with peaks in the summer.

SOURCE

U.S. wild-caught from North Carolina to Texas.

TASTE

Flavorful and sweet. Brown shrimp sometimes have a slight iodine taste.

TEXTURE

Firm.

COLOR

Raw shrimp meat is translucent pink to gray. When cooked, their shells are pinkish-red and their meat is pearly white with pink and red shadings.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Shrimp is low in saturated fat and is a very good source of protein, selenium, and vitamin B12.

Brown shrimp are found in the western north Atlantic from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, to the Florida Keys and along the Gulf Coast to northwestern Yucatan in Mexico.

Habitat

Brown shrimp live in shallow water, generally less than 180 feet deep, but can be found in water up to 360 feet deep. As they grow, they migrate seaward to deeper, saltier water.

They travel primarily at night, especially at or shortly after dusk, and bury themselves during the day.

Inshore, brown shrimp prefer areas with muddy or peaty bottoms rich in organic matter and decaying vegetation.

Offshore, brown shrimp prefer soft bottoms of mud and sand.

Physical Description

Brown shrimp are crustaceans with 10 slender, relatively long walking legs and five pairs of swimming legs located on the front surface of the abdomen.

They are grooved on the back surface of the shell and have a well-developed, toothed rostrum (part of their shell) that extends to or beyond the outer edge of the eyes.

The tails of brown shrimp usually have a purple to reddish purple band and green or red pigmentation.

Biology

Brown shrimp’s growth depends on factors such as water temperature and salinity, and they can reach up to 7 inches in length.

They have a short life span, usually less than two years.

Brown shrimp are able to reproduce when they reach about 5 ½ inches long.

They spawn in relatively deep water.

Females typically release about 500,000 to 1 million eggs near the ocean floor.

Peak spawning is in spring and summer, with newly hatched shrimp entering estuaries in February and March to settle in their nursery habitat.

Brown shrimp larvae feed on plankton (tiny floating plants and animals).

Juvenile and adult shrimp feed on the bottom at night. They are omnivorous, and feed on worms, algae, microscopic animals, and various types of organic debris.

Sheepshead minnows, water boatmen, and insect larvae eat postlarval shrimp.

Grass shrimp, killifishes, and blue crabs prey on young shrimp.

A wide variety of finfish feed heavily on juvenile and adult shrimp