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                                     Farmed Species

                                                      Introduction
                                                 Identification Guides
                                                     The Crustacea
                                     The Classification of Penaied Shrimp

                                        The Future of Penaeus monodon
                     
Penaeus monodon Is Loose in the Western Hemisphere
                             History of Penaeus chinensis Farming in China
                             Is Penaeus idicus a Good Species for Farming?
                                 Penaeus vannamei May Get Its Name Back
                                  Penaeus vannamei Gets Name Back
                          Why Are You Still Saying Litopenaeus vannamei
                                         When Shrimp Ruled the World
                                                             Bait

Introduction

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Thousands of species of shrimp inhabit the brackish and marine waters of the globe. Most are rare, very small, or not suitable for human consumption. All farm-raised shrimp and most of the shrimp caught by fishermen belong to the Penaeidae family of decapod crustaceans and are referred to as “penaeids”. The genus name is Penaeus. In 2006, the giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) and the western white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) probably accounted for approximately 90% of the shrimp produced on farms around the world.

 

Western White Shrimp (Penaeus vannamei): Native to the Pacific coast of Central and South America (from Mexico to Peru), P. vannamei is the leading farm-raised species in the Western Hemisphere, representing more than 99% of production. White shrimp can be stocked at small sizes, have a uniform growth rate and reach a maximum length of 230 millimeters. They breed in captivity better than monodon, but not as readily as many of the other penaeids (below). Hatchery survivals are high, from 50 to 60%. Throughout Latin America, hatcheries maintain captive stocks of vannamei broodstock, some of them pathogen-free, some of them pathogen-resistant and some of them in captivity for 30 years. Farmers throughout Asia are switching to vannamei, and it has now become the dominant species around he world.  Most of the major shrimp farming countries in Asia have established breeding centers for vannamei, and they are expected to do the same thing for monodon.

 

In Chapter Ten of “Shrimp—The Endless Quest for Pink Gold”, the authors reveal how good old Penaeus vannamei got its name:

 

“Years before farmers discovered Penaeus vannamei, a zoologist named Willard Gibbs Vanname had collected the first specimen. The Yale professor was best known for his definitive monograph on sea squirts, his work with terrestrial and freshwater isopods and his work in ornithology. In the obscure world of museum curators and carcinologists (those who study shrimp, crabs and lobsters), history records that on March 25, 1926, Dr. Vanname purchased a male white shrimp in the fish markets of Panama City, Panama, and pickled it for the American Museum of Natural History collection, where he was curator of marine invertebrates. There it sat for five years, having turned red in the jar of alcohol, until a staff biologist at the museum, Miss Pearl Lee Boone, described it as a new species. Apparently she admired Dr. Vanname, so she named it vannamei after him. She declared it to be the analog of the North American white shrimp, Litopenaeus (= Penaeus) setiferus, that Linnaeus had described two centuries earlier. Her paper went on to detail the spine and eyestalks and measured its legs, pinchers and male sexual organs.”

 

 

Giant Tiger Shrimp (Penaeus monodon): Named for its huge size and banded tail, P. monodon accounts for about a quarter of the farmed shrimp coming out of Asia. Native to the Indian Ocean and the southwestern Pacific Ocean from Japan to Australia, “tigers” are the largest (maximum length 363 millimeters) and fastest growing of the farmed shrimp. They tolerate a wide range of salinities, but shortages of wild broodstock often exist, captive breeding is difficult and hatchery survivals are low (20 to 30%). Tigers are very susceptible to two of the most lethal shrimp viruses: yellowhead and whitespot.  Specific pathogen free broodstock and postlarvae began appearing on the market in 2009, primarily in Vietnam and India.

 

Western Blue Shrimp (Penaeus stylirostris): Native to the Pacific coast of Central and South America (from Mexico to Peru), western blue shrimp were a popular farmed species in the Western Hemisphere until the late 1980s when the IHHN virus attacked them but not vannamei. Fortunately, captive stocks of stylirostris were maintained at several locations around the world. Through selective breeding, these stocks developed resistance to the IHHN virus.

 

From 1992 to 1997, when vannamei stocks everywhere in the western hemisphere were being devastated by the Taura virus, shrimp farmers took a second look at “stylies” and found that some of the captive stocks were resistant to IHHN and Taura! Consequently, in 1997, stylies made a comeback on farms throughout the western hemisphere, especially in Mexico. Fast growers, stylies look a lot like vannamei and have similar cultural requirements. They tolerate significantly lower water temperatures than vannamei, but prefer higher oxygen levels, turbidity, salinities and protein levels. Stylies are aggressive feeders and will roam around the pond looking for feed. They like deep ponds and high water quality. Shipment of stylie broodstock and seedstock is difficult, and stylies are more intent on escaping from ponds than are vannamei.

 

Although stylirostris farming has declined dramatically in the Western Hemisphere, the South Pacific nation of New Caledonia farms it exclusively and has its own strain that has been maintained in captivity for thirty years.

 

Red, White and Blue Shrimp: From the consumer’s point of view, stylirostris and vannamei are nearly identical and can be mixed together and sold as western white shrimp.

 

At the Fourth Latin American Aquaculture Congress and Exhibition (Panama, October 2000), Shrimp News asked Bill More (wrmore@comcast.com), one of the founders of shrimp farming in the Western Hemisphere, about the distribution of the penaeids along the western coast of Latin America. More said:

 

Shrimp caught off the northern, Pacific coast of Mexico are primarily P. californensis; those caught off the southern Pacific coast are probably vannamei or stylirostris. Vannamei peaks in Nicaragua where it represents approximately 70% of the catch.

 

Off Ecuador, vannamei represents around 20% of the catch, and occidentalis and stylirostris probably represent 30% each. In Peru, occidentalis begins to disappear and you get more vannamei and stylirostris. Stylirostris is more abundant than vannamei in every country with the exception of Nicaragua. Vannamei lives on different types of bottoms than occidentalis and stylirostris.

 

Chinese White Shrimp (Penaeus chinensis, also known as P. orientalis): Native to the coast of China and the west coast of the Korean peninsula, Chinese white shrimp grow better in lower water temperatures (down to 16 degrees Celsius) than vannamei and monodon, tolerate muddy bottoms and very low salinities—and, unlike the above species, Chinese white shrimp readily mature and spawn in ponds. On the negative side, they have a high protein requirement (40 to 60%), a small size (maximum length of 183 millimeters), and a lower meat yield (56%) than monodon (61%) and vannamei (63%). Also, chinensis appears to be more susceptible to viruses than vannamei, which is replacing it in southern China and on Hainan Island.

 

Japanese Kuruma Shrimp (Penaeus japonicus): Native to the Indian Ocean and the Southwestern Pacific Ocean from Japan to Australia, kuruma shrimp are farmed in Japan and Australia. Live kuruma shrimp bring outrageously high prices in Japan, as high as $100 a pound! It’s relatively easy to ship live animals without water, they mature and spawn in ponds, and they tolerate low water temperatures better than any other farmed species, down to 10 degrees Celsius. They require clean, sandy bottoms and high protein diets (55%). Markets are limited to Japan. Australia has a few farms that export japonicus to Japan.

 

Indian White Shrimp (Penaeus indicus): Indicus is raised on extensive farms throughout Southeast Asia, and it is widely cultured in India, the Middle East and eastern Africa. It tolerates low water quality better than monodon, it likes high salinities, high temperatures and high densities, and it is readily available in the wild. Indicus also reaches sexual maturity and spawns in ponds. Iranian shrimp farms produces more Indicus than any other country.

 

Native to the Indian Ocean from southern Africa to northern Australia and to all of Southeast Asia, Indicus is one of the major species in the region’s commercial fishery. It is the most important species caught off the east coast of Africa and is probably the most important commercial species in India, especially in the inshore fishery and in the rice field farming around Kerala.

 

On September 9, 2001, Michel Autrand (michel.autrand@wanadoo.fr), one of the pioneers of shrimp farming in New Caledonia, responding to a question on the Shrimp List, a mailing list for shrimp farmers (shrimp-subscribe@yahoogroups.com), said:

 

I started working with Indicus in 1975, in New Caledonia. More recently, I have worked with them in Madagascar. Growth up to 14-15 grams is good between 24 and 32°C, but slow below 24°C, except at very low densities (less than two animals per square meter). Indicus continues to grow in high salinity waters up to 42 parts per thousand. I don’t have experience with higher salinites, but, in Iran, I think salinities easily reach 45 ppt and more. Indicus seems to be less tolerant of low salinites than monodon. On a Madagascar farm, where salinities ranged between 0 and 2 ppt for two months, we had some monodon (20 per square meter) and Indicus (2/m2) in the same high turbidity pond. Mortalities were much greater among the indicus.

 

Banana Shrimp (Penaeus merguiensis): Raised on extensive farms throughout Southeast Asia, merguiensis is a also a “white” shrimp that has attracted attention because it tolerates low water quality better than monodon, it can be grown at high densities, and it is readily available in the wild. Native to the Indian Ocean from Oman to western Australia, to Southeast Asia from the Philippines to Indonesia, and to eastern Australia, merguiensis is heavily fished throughout its range, especially in Australia.

 

An article in the December 2001 issue of World Aquaculture (http://www.was.org) reviewed merguiensis’s prospects as a farmed species:

 

Wild-caught breeders are cheap compared to monodon. Each female yields between 100,000 and 200,000 eggs per spawn, which is relatively low, but the low price of broodstock more than compensates for this, and the larvae and postlarvae are much easier to convert to prepared feeds. More importantly, adults mature and spawn naturally in captivity.

 

Advantages: Easy larval rearing, survive well in extensive and semi-intensive ponds, tolerate a wide range of salinities and temperatures, low protein requirement, and minimal size variation

 

Disadvantages: slow growth rate, limited information on biology and culture, low survival in intensive ponds (not confirmed by research), die quickly at harvest, and no species-specific commercial feeds

 

Farmers in southeastern Queensland, Australia, were encouraged to stock their ponds with banana prawns and their results were good, with production of 5 tons per hectare. Postlarvae from pond-reared broodstock have been grown successfully to market size in five months. Observations show that banana shrimp grow much faster in tanks or ponds that are rich in detritus and algae.

 

Brown Tiger Shrimp (Penaeus esculentus): Native to the west, north and east coasts of Australia, esculentus, the brown tiger shrimp, looks a lot like the giant tiger shrimp (monodon), only smaller and browner. Uniquely Australian, it is fished year-round and is often caught along with the green tiger shrimp (semisulcatus).

 

An aggressive detrital feeder, esculentus has potential in bacterial-based systems.

 

The New Wave, a special publication of the World Aquaculture Society (http://www.was.org), contains an interesting report on the farming potential of esculentus by Sandy Keys and Peter Crocos, researchers in Australia. They conducted commercial growout trials, developed a special diet, optimized larval and juvenile rearing protocols and investigated protocols for zero-exchange production. Esculentus postlarvae were grown on a farm for commercial sale to Japanese and Australian markets in 1997 and 1999. Survival in the hatchery phase (egg to PL-15) was improved by reducing the rearing temperature from 28° to 26°C. Juvenile growth was promoted by the addition of structures conditioned with natural biota during the early growout phase. Three generations of viable progeny were produced from captive broodstock using techniques developed for japonicus.

 

The Atlantic White Shrimp (Penaeus setiferus): The Atlantic white shrimp can be found along the Atlantic coast of the USA from New Jersey to Florida and everywhere in the Gulf of Mexico.  It looks a lot like P. vannamei, but can easily be identified by its unique genitalia.  At full maturity, setiferus reaches 200 millimeters (7.9 inches).  It can’t compete with vannamei as a growout species, but because it’s native to the USA, it can be raised as bait and sold to recreational fishermen.

 

With the threat of wild setiferus being depleted in the Gulf of Mexico by commercial bait fishermen and a practically nonexistent live bait shrimp industry in South Carolina, the Waddell Mariculture Center is developing technology to supply live bait year-round.  The three-year project to raise a disease-free line of setiferus is being funded with a federal grant.  Al Stokes, manager of the Waddell Center and a wildlife biologist for the state Department of Natural Resources, said he hopes Waddell can pass the project on to the private sector when the grant expires in December 2008.

 

Bait shrimp are marketed at much smaller sizes (around six grams) than food shrimp.  Setiferus is more cold tolerant than vannamei, and in recirculating, greenhouse-enclosed, raceway systems, it can be grown at very high densities.

 

Supplying bait to more than nine million recreational saltwater fisherman each year has become a major industry in the USA that relies on the capture of wild shrimp.  Some states are concerned that the increasing demand for bait shrimp may not be sustainable and have already imposed new regulations on bait fishermen to protect the resource.

 

Bait shrimp hatcheries could operate year-round and provide stable prices and supplies to bait dealers, something they don’t have now.  Test markets indicate that hatchery-reared bait shrimp handle and perform well during transport, in the bait shop—and on the hook.

 

Freshwater Prawns (Macrobrachium spp.): World production of prawns is rising. The genus Macrobrachium, which includes about 200 species, almost all of which live in freshwater for at least part of their life cycle, is circumtropical and native to all continents except Europe. The favored species for farming has always been M. rosenbergii, sometimes called the “giant river prawn” or the “Malaysian prawn”, but recently, China began culturing M. nipponense, a species native to Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam, which has also been introduced into Russia, the Philippines and Singapore. In India, some M. malcolsmonni are farmed. In the United States, there are several hundred small freshwater prawn farms that grow M. rosenbergii.

 

Beginning in 2000, freshwater prawns (defrosted shell-on tails) began showing up in USA grocery stors. They look a lot like giant tiger shrimp, but they’re bigger, chunkier, lighter in color, and their shells are always on. In fact, if you look carefully at the second tail segment, you can easily distinguish prawns from shrimp. If the bottom part of the shell on the second tail segment overlaps the shell on the first and third segments, it’s a freshwater prawn.

 

Prawns fight a lot and don’t adapt well to high densities.

 

 

Identification Guides

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An Illustrated Guide to Shrimp of the World: Authored by Claus Frimodt and Ian Doré in 1987, this 229-page, book contains information on identifying 70 commercially important shrimp species, including all the popular farm-raised species. Superbly indexed with common and scientific names, it’s a handsome book and a standard reference. The heart of the book is a 140-page chapter containing color pictures, line drawings, maps, names and comments on 70 shrimp species. It discusses their color, flavor, edibility and commercial importance. The book also contains a short chapter on identifying shrimp, a great chapter on terms used in the shrimp industry and a brief closing chapter on specifications for processing shrimp. It’s out-of-print but available on a CD in PDF format and comes with An Illustrated Guide to Lobsters of the World for $79. Information: Urner Barry Publications, Inc., P.O. Box 389, Toms River, NJ 08754 USA (phone 800-932-0617, fax 732-341-0891, email mail@urnerbarry.com, webpage http://www.urnerbarry.com).

 

Los Camarones Penaeoidea Bentónicos (Crustacea: Decapoda: Dendrobranchiata) del Pacífico Mexicano: Mexico’s Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, part of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, has published (in Spanish) two books that describe the shrimp species on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Authored by Michel E. Hendrickx, one book covers those species that live in the water column, while the other covers bottom dwelling species, including all the popular penaeid species used in farming. Titled Los Camarones Penaeoidea Bentónicos (Crustacea: Decapoda: Dendrobranchiata) del Pacífico Mexicano, it’s a 157-page taxonomic key for identifying the various species. In addition to long descriptions of each species, it contains black-and-white line drawings of each species, detailed drawings of sex organs and other body parts used in identification, and maps which show where the animals were captured. Information: Michel Hendrickx, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Estación Mazatlán, Apartado Postal 811, 82000 Mazatlán, Sin., México (phone 52-69-852-845, fax 52-69-826-133, email michel@mar.icmyl.unam.mx).

 

Crustacea Guide of the World: Authored and published by Helmut Debelius, Crustacea Guide of the World contains over 1,000 color photographs of crustaceans—mostly lobsters, crabs and shrimps—in their natural habitats. It’s primarily a book for divers and underwater naturalists, but anyone interested in shrimp will find it fascinating. About 50% of the photographs are of incredibly beautiful little tropical shrimp, many of which are highly valued in the aquarium trade—and some of which could be raised in backyard or garage-size farms!

 

Each photograph includes information on the location of the shot, the name of the photographer and the name of the species, along with notes on habitat, behavior and commercial value. Of the major farmed species, there are pictures of Penaeus monodon, P. japonicus and P. stylirostris. Most of the photographs are 90 mm wide by 60 mm high, but some cover the full page, 150 mm by 230 mm. Printed on glossy paper, the 321-page guide is indexed and contains a list of references. Information:I Crustacea Guide of the World ($44.95/USA). IKAN-Unterwasserarchiv (wholesalers and distributors only), Waldschulstrasse 166, 65933 Frankfurt, Germany (fax 49-69-383587, email ikanuw@aol.com). Single copy sales in the United States: New World Publications (publications for divers), 1861 Cornell Road, Jacksonville, FL 32207 USA (phone 904-737-6558, fax 904-731-1188, webpage www.fishid.com). Single copy sales in Europe: Klaus Groh (conchbooks@conchbooks.de). Single copy sales in Australia: Peter Stone (oceans@netspace.net.au). Single copy sales in Japan: Junko Maruoka (nexus@abox.so-net.ne.jp).

 

Genetic Structure in Penaeid Shrimp: The January 2000 issue (V-31, N-1, P-95) of Aquaculture Research (address below) published a 25-page review of genetic diversity in penaeid shrimp. Four long tables summarize the research by species, location, type of genetic information collected and amount of genetic differentiation, altogether sixty citations. The discussion divides the penaeids into wild and farmed with comments on life history, geographic, genetic and temporal variation. The review also mentions management regimes and interactions of wild and farmed stocks. Information: J.A.H. Benzie, Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB No. 3, Townsville MC 4810, Queensland, Australia; and Aquaculture Research, Blackwell Science, Ltd., Osney Mead, Oxford OX2 OEL, United Kingdom (phone 44-1865-206-206, fax 44-1865-721-205, webpage www.blackwell-science.com).

 

Six Morphologically-Distinguishable Populations of Stylirostris: Volume 137 (Numbers 5 & 6, Page 875) of Marine Biology contains a report titled “Identification of genetic populations of the Pacific blue shrimp Penaeus stylirostris of the Gulf of California, Mexico”. The abstract says:

 

The authors found that six morphologically-distinguishable populations of stylirostris from different locations in the Gulf of California were genetically distinguishable. This raises the possibility—or probability—that stylirostris from different places will differ in their genetic suitability for aquaculture. The authors comment: “The finding that genetically discrete stocks of stylirostris can be found in a small portion of the geographic distribution range of the species, disagrees with the long-held perception that this resource is panmictic in nature.” Information: Dr. Donald Lightner (co-author of the report), University of Arizona, Department Veterinary Science & Microbiology, Tucson, AZ 85721 USA (email dvl@u.arizona.edu).

 

Shrimps and Prawns of the World: In this 1997 book, Penaeoid and Sergestoid Shrimps and Prawns of the World (Keys and Diagnoses for the Families and Genera), Dr. Isabel Pérez Farfante and Dr. Brian Kensley propose some changes in the way scientists refer to the popular farmed shrimp species.

 

Except for the giant tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon, which would get to keep the “Penaeus” title, all the other popular farmed species might have to add a few syllables to their genus name. The genus is the first word of the Latin, or scientific, name. Good old Penaeus vannamei would become Litopenaeus vannamei. And there could be similar changes for P. stylirostris, P. indicus, P. chinensis, P. japonicus and several other farmed species.

 

Published in France (text in English) by the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, the book contains 233 pages (8 1/2” x 11”), an excellent glossary of shrimp body parts, keys for the identification of 7 families and 56 genera, and the diagnoses for defining them. Also included are lists of the species and subspecies in these genera, along with information on their geographic distribution. The book is indexed and has a full bibliography. At least one species of each genus is illustrated. A few of the illustrations (by María Diéguez) were published in earlier works by Isabel Pérez Farfante. The bulk of the illustrations, however, are the work of Molly Kelly Ryan, a scientific illustrator in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

 

This book, which sells for $58 (55 Euros), is not for everyone. Complex descriptions of shrimp body parts, followed by long lists of references make up most of the text. It covers hundreds of species, so there’s little coverage of the farmed species—and there are no illustrations of Penaeus vannamei and P. stylirostris. In addition, the book does not include an explanation for the name changes of the farmed penaeids. It’s primarily a book for scientists who are interested in the classification of crustaceans. Information (in France): Delphine Henry, Sales Manager, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Publications Scientifiques Division, 57, rue Cuvier, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France (phone 33-01-40-79-37-00, fax 33-01-40-79-38-40, email dhenry@mnhn.fr); and (outside of France) Backhuys Publishers, P.O. Box 321, NL-2300 AH Leiden, The Netherlands (phone 31-71-517-0208, fax 31-71-517-1856, email backhuys@backhuys.com, webpage http://www.backhuys.com).

 

Most scientists and journal editors have adopted the name changes suggested by Pérez Farfante and Kensley. Nonetheless, Shrimp News will stick with the old names until a thorough genetic analysis of all the panaeids is completed.

 

 

Palaemonid Prawns: Biodiversity, Taxonomy, Biology and Management: All marine shrimp, like Penaeus vannamei and P. monodon, and freshwater prawns, like Macrobrachium rosenbergii and M. nipponense, are decapod crustaceans, but members of different families. Marine shrimp belong to the Penaeidae Family and freshwater prawns belong to the Palaemonidae Family, which includes the genus Macrobrachium. Chapter Two of this 624 page book (156 mm x 246mm, 1.36 kilograms, references and index) devotes 150 pages to the classification of the genus Macrobrachium and provides an identification key for over 100 Macrobrachium species. The remaining chapters cover the distribution, commercial importance and farming of the palaemonids with frequent reference to the broad body of research on M. rosenbergii. Authored by K.V. Jayachandran, it was published in April 2001 and sells for $139. Information: Enfield Distribution Company, P.O. Box 699, May Street, Enfield, NH 03748 USA (phone 603-632-7377, fax 603-632-5611).

 

The Crustacea

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The Variety of Life (Oxford University Press, 2000, 684 pages, $45) by Colin Tudge contains a concise, 17-page chapter on crustaceans (excerpts below). In his review of the book in The New York Times, W. Ford Doolittle said:

 

“Naming animals and plants is surely an ancient activity: there is much selective value in recognizing creatures that are similar to others we already know from experience to be edible or noxious, docile or hostile. In The Variety of Life, Colin Tudge, a very energetic British science writer, has produced a great wodge of a book that attempts to explain and make interesting the whole enterprise of taxonomy (or systematics), the scientific practice that has biological classification as its object.”

 

Excerpts from the Chapter on Crustaceans: “About 50,000 species of crustacean are known, but several times more might remain to be discovered. ...As a group they are extremely ancient, dating well back into the Cambrian at least 500 million years ago, and so they have had plenty of time to evolve and radiate.”

 

“Crustaceans have an extremely successful body plan that lends itself to endless variety. The segments...are each fitted with a pair of appendages that are fundamentally biramous [two branches, paired], but, unrestrained by gravity, can take many different forms and serve for swimming, walking, offense, communication, reproduction, feeding, respiration, or, indeed, for several of these at once. The typical crustacean is a mobile Swiss army knife.”

 

In his discussion of the decapods, Tudge says: “Order Decapoda includes some of the glories of the whole animal kingdom, such as the wonderful lobsters and crabs, and also some of the greatest commercial importance, including several groups of broadly similar creatures commonly known as shrimps and prawns. ...Two decapod suborders are commonly recognized. The first, the Dendrobranchiata, includes 450 species of penaeid and sergestid shrimps that grow up to 30 centimeters and are of great commercial importance. They are distinguished by their unique ‘dendrobranchiate’ [branching like a tree] gills. The second suborder, Pleocyemata, contains all the rest of the decapods.”

 

 

Crust-L

 

The following exchange took place on Crust-L, a mailing list for crustacean scientists.  It’s a discussion of on-line sources of taxonomic information with special emphasis on crustaceans.

 

Jeff Shields (jeff@vims.edu), who manages the Crust-L mailing list (very similar to the The Shrimp List), posted the following email to Crust-L on behalf of Nuno Simoes.

 

Nuno Simoes (ns@fciencias.unam.mx): Just received mail from a friend about a new web project called “The Encyclopedia of Life” (http://www.eol.org/home.html), a website similar to Wikipedia, where all living species will be listed.

 

Apparently, information on crustaceans is being organized into large databases like the Crustacea.net (http://www.crustacea.net) and the Tree of Life projects (http://decapoda.nhm.org).  Could that data be compiled, shared and readily available within a project like the Encyclopedia of Life?  The Crustacea.net webpage and the decapods in the Tree of Live webpage contain a lot of general information on crustaceans, but they are designed more for the professional biologists, rather than lay people that might be interested in mining information on crustaceans.Does anybody know of a single-stop webpage where all (or most) the crustacean species are listed?  Could the Encyclopedia of Life project be a meeting point?  Does the Crustacean Society have a role/position in the Crustacean.net and Tree of Life and Encyclopedia of Life projects?  I am just curious on what you fellows think about all of this.

 

Information: Nuno Simoes, Associate Professor, C de TC Unidad Multidisciplinaria de Docencia e Investigación - Sisal (UMDI-Sisal), Facultad de Ciencias, UNAM, Yucatán, México (phone 01-988-912-01, email ns@fciencias.unam.mx).

 

Joel W. Martin (jmartin@nhm.org): The Tree of Life project, which you referred to in your message (http://decapoda.nhm.org), targets Decapoda only, and we are currently compiling a list of all families and genera of decapods, extinct and extant, and providing estimates of the species number within each genus, along with all of the associated references.

 

Several members of our team do in fact have complete lists of all species within several of the major decapod groups, and these workers are currently involved in various efforts to publish or otherwise make available these species lists (for example, Sammy De Grave for caridean shrimp; Gary Poore and colleagues on galatheids; Peter Davie, Peter Ng and Daniele Guinot on crabs; and others).All members of the Decapoda Tree of Life group are members of The Crustacean Society, which is cosponsoring our upcoming symposium on decapod phylogeny this coming January.  So yes, the Crustacean Society does have some representation on this front.

 

Mark Costello (markcost@gmail.com): There is an open access, online system for marine species at www.marinespecies.org.

 

The site has a common database with separate views for different taxa and regional inventories for many taxa.  There is a “taxon match” tool so users can upload a list of names to cross check with the names in the system.  All the names are edited by taxonomic authorities, including several crustacean experts, regardless of where they live.  They do not have to worry about how the database is maintained, backed up and developed because it is hosted by a national government-funded marine data center whose mission is to maintain databases.  Next year we hope to develop web services to supply correct names to desktop databases at other institutions.  Of course, we work with experts to apply for funding to expand the content and develop the system whenever possible.  As you can imagine, where there are many species in a taxon, the editors often welcome dividing the work amongst colleagues.  We do not stop with species names, but include synonyms, images, literature references, distribution, ecology and more as experts and various projects have the time to enter it.  Thus it will always grow.  As with the literature, it will have mistakes and need updating, so it will be only as good as people make it.We are always looking for volunteers to join the editorial board or to act as reviewers of particular taxa.  We welcome any offers of collaboration and suggestions.  We have a goal of trying to fill current gaps in authoritative lists of marine species by the end of 2008 and create a “World Register of Marine Species”.  We are less than half way there to date.  And this is only a target.  There is a lot more to be done, so we are working with Encyclopedia of Life, the Ocean Biogeographic Information System and others to maximize the synergy of our effort.We have already provided some names to Species 2000 for the Annual Catalogue of Life CD and will be providing names to Ocean Biogeographic Information System and Encyclopedia of Life as well.

 

Information: Dr. Mark J. Costello, Leigh Marine Laboratory, University of Auckland, P.O. Box 349, Warkworth 0941, New Zealand (phone 64-9-373-7599, extension 83608, fax 64-9-422-6113, email m.costello@auckland.ac.nz, website www.marine.auckland.ac.nz).

 

Information: The Crust-L list is an email-based mailing list for crustacean scientists.  Subscribing to and unsubscribing from Crust-L are easy.  To subscribe, send an email to LISTPROC@VIMS.EDU.  In the body of the email, put SUBSCRIBE CRUST-L, followed by your first and last names (not your email address).  To unsubscribe, send an email to: LISTPROC@VIMS.EDU.  In the body of the email, put UNSUBSCRIBE CRUST-L.  To post a message to the list send an email to CRUST-L@VIMS.EDU.  You must subscribe before sending your first message.

 

Source: The Crust-L Mailing List.  Subject: Crustaceans in the encyclopedia of life?  May 22, 2007, and November 27 and 30, 2007.

 

 

The Decapod Tree of Life

 

Abstract: The order Decapoda represents a species-rich group of crustaceans. Numerous economically important and morphologically diverse members of this group have been studied extensively for many decades, in part to understand their phylogeny. There are several competing hypotheses concerning relationships among the major lineages of Decapoda. Laboratories predict a robust decapod phylogeny based on molecular and morphological data in an attempt to resolve relationships among major lineages. The order includes roughly 175 families and more than 15,000 described species (in existence and extinct). Interpretations are complicated by the estimated 437 million years since the origin of decapods, with all the major lineages likely established by 325 million years ago. Constructing a molecular phylogeny across such a timescale requires genetic markers with enough variation to infer relationships at and within the family level, but which are conservative enough to reflect deeper divergences across infraorders.

 

In this paper, the researchers present a molecular phylogeny for the order Decapoda, combining nuclear and mitochondrial sequences, to investigate relationships among nine pleocyemate infraorders, one dendrobranchiate superfamily, 56 families, 113 genera and 128 species. New and available sequence data are assembled to build the most extensive decapod phylogeny to date both in terms of taxon representation and genetic coverage.

 

The researchers discuss current and new hypotheses of decapod relationships and suggest a plan towards a consensus of decapod evolution.

 

Source: Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny. The Decapod Tree of Life: Compiling the Data and Moving Toward a Consensus of Decapod Evolution. Heather D. Bracken (Department of Biology, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA, heather.bracken@gmail.com), Alicia Toon, Darryl L. Felder, Joel W. Martin, Maegan Finley, Jennifer Rasmussen, Ferran Palero and Keith A. Crandall. Volume 67, Number 1, Page 99. Posted online June 17, 2009.

 

 

The Classification of Penaeid Shrimp

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The classification of plants and animals has undergone tremendous change in the last few decades and the speed of the change appears to be accelerating. You probably remember the two kingdoms: plants and animals? Now there are five kingdoms (bacteria, fungi, protoctists, plants and animals), and a new level above kingdom called superkingdom by some and domain by others. The growth in knowledge, particularly molecular knowledge, and the ability to analyze that knowledge with computers has changed everything.

 

How do our friends the penaeids fit into the current classification system?

 

Domain = Eucarya

 Kingdom = Animalia

  Phylum = Anthropoda

   Subphylum = Crustacea

   Class = Malacostraca

    Subclass = Eumalacostraca

     Superorder = Eucarida

       Order = Decapoda

         Suborder = Dendrobranchiata

          Super Family = Penaeoidea

           Family = Penaeidae

             Genus = Penaeus

              Species = vannamei

 

The Future of Penaeus Monodon

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This discussion took place on The Shrimp List, a mailing list for the shrimp farming industry.

 

David Currie (davidcurrie@lineone.net): I would like to hear opinions on the future Penaeus monodon, the giant tiger shrimp, from Listers who are involved in shrimp marketing.  Can tigers be competitive with P. vannamei?  In which countries?  Should efforts continue to produce disease-free (and maybe resistant) stocks and faster-growing, lower-FCR lines of monodon?  Could monodon catch up with vannamei?  As it becomes possible to grow bigger and bigger vannamei in shorter cycles, will monodon lose its size advantage?  Does a monodon produced at low densities have any color or taste advantages over vannamei produced at high densities?

 

Marcel Selfer (marcel.selfer@gmail.com): Our company operates shrimp farms in Sri Lanka, and monodon is the only species that we are currently allowed to grow, but beginning in 2017, we will be allowed to grow vannamei.  We will look at the numbers to see which species makes the most financial sense for farmers.

 

The benefits of vannamei are clear:

• It can be stocked at higher densities

• It grows faster

• It has a better feed conversion ratio

 

At the end of the day, it will come down to one simple question: Are buyers and consumers willing to pay a significantly higher price for monodon?  If there is only a small price difference between the two species, vannamei will always win because of its higher yields and lower production costs.  Farmers will make their decision based on which species generates the most money per hectare.

 

I doubt there will be a mass market for higher priced monodon, and I think sooner or later the monodon market will be reduced to large, wild-caught animals and monodon farming will be relegated to extensive farms that use traditional systems and raise 8-to-10-count animals.

 

I don’t think monodon are in high demand in Western markets, but what about the Middle East and Asia?  Will consumers in those markets pay significantly higher prices for monodon?

 

Jeff Thompson (jthompson@ec.rr.com): From research on demand and production costs, including feed conversion ratios, stocking densities, survival and final yield, vannamei makes more sense for the United States.

 

Previously, as a restaurant owner in the state of North Carolina, I saw the boom in monodon dwindle in the early 2000s.  They came onto the scene pretty fast as an individually quick frozen product (IQF).  We marketed them as a “Thai Tiger Appetizer” with great success.  Local, fresh, wild shrimp were our first choice, but not readily available all year.  Since most of our dishes were based on presentation, we found that that the tigers worked very well in pastas as appetizers and as part of surf-and-turf specials.  The local wild catch rarely competed on size.  Even when local shrimp were in season, you could always find IQF tigers in our freezer.  They were fast to thaw, cooked consistently and presented well.

 

Fast forward eight years, and I have chosen vannamei for our super-intense indoor shrimp farm.  Economically, they just make more sense.  We can grow them almost as large as consumer’s desire, but have found that a 21-25 count is a great size and on the cusp of diminishing returns versus input costs and the small increase in price people are willing to pay.  I’m not even sure if there is a good source for monodon specific-pathogen-free (SPF) postlarvae or broodstock in the United States.

 

Nelson Gerundo (nelsongerundo@yahoo.com): Vannamei production worldwide will continue to expand to gradually squeeze out monodon production...but the latter will survive in smaller and smaller niche markets in Asia.

 

Nizam M. Selim (nizam@bravebd.com): Over the last 20-25 years, monodon’s share of the international shrimp market has been drastically reduced by the phenomenal and pervasive growth of lower-cost vannamei production.  Studies show that monodon had 80% of the market 20-25 years ago and that its share has dropped to 20% today!

 

There are indications that a niche market exists for monodon in the European Union because it’s perceive to have better taste than vannamei.  Here in Bangladesh farmers producing 45-to-50-gram monodon get high prices for their harvests.

 

There is a ray of hope that customized production can sustain a dedicated segment of the market for this species against the inroads of vannamei.  Growing monodon to larger sizes means higher production costs, but some customers are prepared to pay higher prices to satisfy their appetites for monodon.

 

Also, there are reports that there is a strong demand for organic monodon at white-table cloth and higher-end restaurant chains, such as Darden Restaurants in the United States.  Darden claims that their customers don’t mind forking more money for a tastier monodon—a quality that vannamei can not vie with.

 

Billy Setio (surijo_setio@yahoo.com): Hi David, vannamei or monodon?  It’s simple to analyze.  Production of vannamei can reach 25 tons per hectare.  Monodon, which I don’t have experience with, maxes out at around 7.5 tons per hectare (with much bigger sizes, like 40 to 50 grams).  That’s a three to one advantage for vannamei.  Will the harvest price of the larger monodon be three times larger than the harvest price of vannamei?  If not, won’t the farmer choose vannamei?

 

Eric De Muylder (eric@crevetec.be): I believe monodon still has high potential for semi-intensive and extensive farming.  In Seychelles, an island nation in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa, monodon production averaged 12 tons per hectare, with record harvests of 24 tons per hectare.  The big advantage of monodon is that it can reach 40 grams and higher, which is not economical possible with vannamei.  Therefore, I think monodon will become a niche, high-market species.

 

David Currie (davidcurrie@lineone.net): Many thanks to all those who responded to my question about the future of monodon.

 

Sources: 1. The Shrimp List (a mailing list for shrimp farmers).  Subject: Future of Monodon.  October 8 to 16, 2016.  2. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, October 26, 2016.

 

The History of Penaeus chinensis Farming in China

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During the development of shrimp farming in China, the primary species were Chinese white shrimp (Penaeus chinensis), Pacific white shrimp (P. vannamei), giant tiger shrimp (P. monodon) and Kuruma shrimp (P. japonicas).  In 2013, China harvested more than one million metric tons of shrimp from farm ponds.  Vannamei accounting for 812,545 metric tons (75.14%); chinensis, 41,931 metric tons (3.88%); monodon, 72,008 metric tons (6.65%) and japonicas, 45,949 metric tons (4.25%).  Before 1995, chinensis was the most important farmed species, especially in northern China along the coasts of the Bohai and Yellow seas.  After 1995, vannamei became the most important species.

 

Chinensis farming has a history of over 60 years.  On March 30, 1952, Slurping Zhu at the Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute and Dizhou Tong at the Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences began collaborating on chinensis research.  This was the earliest record off chinensis work in China, focusing on life history, sexual maturation, water quality and feeds.

 

1959 marked multiple milestones in the history of chinensis research in China: the first successful rearing of shrimp larvae was reported at the Beitang Shrimp Farm in Tianjin City, the first report on the life history of chinensis was published and the first wild-captured chinensis were successfully overwintered in indoor tanks.

 

• In the 1960s, Ruiyu Liu, Shangqin Wu, Yu Wang, Fazhen Zhao, Kexing Wang and other Chinese scientists succeeded in breeding chinensis.

 

• In 1965, Fazhen Zhao at the Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute published a study on the development of chinensis larvae.  It systematically described the morphology and distinctive features of the nauplius, zoea, mysis and postlarvae stages and provided the basis for correctly identifying and recognizing larval stages.

 

• By 1976, broodstock in concrete tanks and earthen ponds produced larvae that were stocked in farm ponds.

 

• In 1981, remarkable progress was made under the concerted efforts of Fazhen Zhao, Denggong Cao, Kexing Wang, Zongyao Chen, Zhenqing Zhu and other researchers.  In experimental tanks with a total water volume of 13,465 cubic meters, an average of 37,300 postlarvae/m3 were reared, with some tanks containing as many as 200,000 postlarvae/m3.  These researchers validated techniques for industrial-scale production by controlling temperature, water quality and feeds, making China one of the leading countries in shrimp larval production.

 

The peak period of chinensis farming was 1987–1992, with annual yields from ponds of around 200,000 metric tons from around 140,000 hectares of ponds.

 

In 1993, a nationwide outbreak of whitespot syndrome (WSS) in chinensis seriously affected shrimp farming.  To address the disease, it became an urgent goal to develop and select new varieties with traits for faster growth and greater disease resistance.  This work began in 1996 and was carried out by Dr. Qingyin Wang and his team at the Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences.

 

In 2003, after seven generations of selective breeding, a new variety of chinensis, named “Huanghai No. 1”, was developed.  Compared to an unselected control population, it had an average body length increased of 8.4% and a weight increased 26.9%.  In addition, many efforts were devoted to select lines of chinensis that were resistant to the whitespot syndrome virus.

 

In 2008, “Huanghai No. 2” was developed, after 11 generations of multi-trait selective breeding.  It featured faster growth, higher pond survival and stronger disease resistance.  The harvest body weight increased by over 20.0%, resistance to the whitespot virus was increased by 15.8%, and the survival rate in ponds was increased.

 

In 2013, “Huanghai No. 3” was obtained after five generations of selective breeding.  Farming experiments showed that, compared to the performance of control groups, juvenile resistance to ammonia nitrogen increased by 21.2%, the overall survival rate increased by 15.2% and average weight rose by 11.8%.

 

The Huanghai varieties of chinensis were recommended by the Ministry of Agriculture of China as the varieties to be cultured in Shandong, Hebei, Tianjin, Liaoning and other coastal areas of northern China.  In recent years, their annual farming area exceeded 20,000 hectares, and the shrimp have been well received by farmers.

 

Source: The Global Aquaculture Advocate (The Global Magazine for Farmed Seafood).  Editor, Darryl Jory (dejry2525@aol.com). Shrimp Farming In China: What Should We Learn From Its Developmental History. Dr. Xianhong Meng, Dr. Qingyin Wang (email wangqy@ysfri.ac.cn, Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, 106 Nanjing Road, Qingdao 266071, China), Dr. Jie Kong, Dr. Jian Li and Dr. Jie Huang. Volume 18, Issue 5, Page 47, September/October 2015.

 

 

Monodon Is Loose in the Western Hemisphere
(2007 to 2015)

Top of Page

 

                            Penaeus monodon Sightings in the Western Hemisphere (October 26, 2007)

                                  South Carolina—Penaeus monodon Catches (January 2, 2009)

                            Penaeus monodon May Be Established in USA Waters (February 8, 2012)

                                       Louisiana—Giant Tiger Shrimp Invasion (August 6, 2013)

                                             Florida—Tiger Shrimp Invasion (October 29, 2013)

                             Questions about Tiger Shrimp in the Western Hemisphere (July 14, 2015)

                 Florida—Video—Fisherman Catches Twelve-Foot-Long Giant Tiger Shrimp (July 11, 2015)

 

   

 

Penaeus monodon Sightings in the Western Hemisphere (October 26, 2007)

                                  (Top of Mondon Loose in Western Hemisphere)

 

Craig Browdy: We had an interesting visitor to South Carolina a couple of weeks ago.  A very large and healthy Penaeus monodon was caught by one of our shrimp trawlers.  A few more turned up in North Carolina a while later.  Does anyone know where these shrimp came from?

 

Osires de Melo: A couple of years ago, some P. monodon were caught in northeast Brazil, a region where no one farms them.  A plausible guess was that the monodon were released with ballast water from vessels that had been in Asia.

 

Leland Lai: So much for biosecurity and quarantine.  It’s bound to happen, and I wouldn’t be surprised if monodon is eventually found off Hawaii and stylies [P. stylirostris] off New Caledonia and/or Tahiti.  And P. vannamei is in ponds all over the world, silently plotting escape plans!  It’s called the globalization of shrimp.  Sounds kind of like Atlantic salmon and Cobia doesn’t it!  Ok, Ok, I’m just having fun during my lunch break.

 

Josh Wilkenfeld: I remember hearing or reading the stories of the mysterious appearance of monodon off the coast of Brazil, and the theory that they might have come in with the ballast water of large ships.  I don’t really know about the mechanics of ocean going vessels, but I wonder how these ballast tanks are filled and emptied, how clean they are kept (free of toxic substances) and how good of an environment this might be for shrimp to survive in for any length of time.  If the ballasts are filled and emptied by pump, it would surprise me if mature shrimp could survive the trip through a pump and impellor.  PLs might be able to make it through the pumps, but might still have a difficult time finding enough to feed on over a period of days or weeks in this environment, unless, of course, they were feeding on other dying organisms, which is possible.

 

Again, I know nothing about how these large ships work, but just thinking logically, I’m guessing that they draw water into the ballast tanks when they are moving away from harbor, and though their draft can be quite deep, they are probably not drawing water from areas where they are likely to suck up large shrimp that are bottom dwellers.  So I suppose the most likely case that can be made for transoceanic ballast transport of shrimp is by pulling in near-coast PLs that may be on their way into nursery grounds.  Interesting idea, but I still wonder about how well they would do in a ballast tank environment.

 

I assume that ballast tanks are very well painted with the same types of materials that are used to protect the outer hull from corrosion and fouling, and tanks may also include, in one form or another, substances meant to discourage the settling of barnacles on the inner surfaces of the tanks.  I wonder if, in order to reduce maintenance, there are other procedures or substances used by marine engineers to keep the ballasts clean and discourage survival of hitchhikers, and if such antifouling measures might also be toxic to shrimp.

 

Contrary to the above considerations, it does not seem to me at all far-fetched to think that monodon have made their way into culture systems in South America, both in the early days, when not much thought was given to regulating the introduction of nonindigenous species, or even today, when some aquaculturists are willing to move animals illegally, thinking this will somehow give them a business advantage.  I think it’s been correctly assumed (if not scientifically proven) that the origin of IHHN virus in the Western Hemisphere was from early importation of monodon, and more recently, it’s probable that the Taura virus made its way into Asia by the extra-legal importation of non-SPF (specific pathogen free) vannamei, most likely from somewhere in Central or South America.  The point is that it never surprises me to hear that people are willing to ignore the risks to the environment and potential negative impact to their own livelihood to bring in animals illegally, using whatever form of rationalization is convenient for them at the moment.

 

Illegal importation of exotic species is much more difficult to do in the USA, though perhaps still not impossible.  And there certainly have been monodon in various places in mainland USA in the past.  There were monodon and stylirostris at the National Marine Fisheries Service facility in Galveston, Texas, when I first went to work there in 1980, and I would guess that there were monodon (and other species) at other research facilities at various times as well.  Certainly, less attention was paid in those days to accidental escapes, although I do recall that we eventually installed a rather primitive chlorinator for treatment of water discharged from the hatchery at the Galveston facility.

 

If monodon were inadvertently transported by ship, or accidentally released from research facilities or early commercial trials at one time or another, it would be interesting to know if they have been able to survive and reproduce in their “new” environment.  I have a few follow-up questions for Craig Browdy (above):

 

1. Were the specimens captured in North and South Carolina sexually mature, and if so, was there any sign of ovarian development and presence of spermatophores?

 

2. Were the specimens in good enough condition so that tissue could be used for testing by PCR to see if they were carrying any known pathogens?

 

3. This is probably expensive, but I wonder if it might be possible to determine the origins of these mystery animals by communicating with someone from Moana Technologies, High Health Shrimp, or other groups that have done significant genetics work with monodon, to see if certain loci or markers could be used to characterize specific populations from different regions?

 

I started this reply much earlier in the morning, but had to drop it for a while, so just now saw Leland’s comments (above), which I agree with completely.

 

Patrick Wood: At the end of the day, does it make any difference?  The world is too complex to regulate everything.  The rules are bound to be broken, naturally or unnaturally, voluntarily or involuntarily.  The sum total of the earth is what one should look at—not man-made boundaries.

 

Josh Wilkenfeld: I don’t know, Patrick.  I can agree that the planet and evolution set up their own set of rules, which if left untouched by humans, would have kept things running just fine.  As you pointed out, it’s probably impossible to reverse damage already done by thoughtless and sometimes inadvertent movement of exotic species from place to place, but that doesn’t mean that we should give up completely on attempting to do a better job of minimizing the environmental impact of our activities.

 

You are correct in pointing out that even the movement of SPF (specific pathogen free) animals poses risks, since accidental and/or intentional release of animals is almost impossible to prevent.  We would be tilting at windmills, however, if we attempted to completely eliminate the movement of exotic species throughout the world.  I think that some progress has been made in terms of educating people about the need to move animals in a responsible and safe manner (SPF and strict quarantine rules for non-SPF seems to be the only logical way).  We should continue to emphasize the importance of using SPF animals when working with exotic species, as well as working to improve performance of endemic species, so that they will be as commercially and economically attractive to use as foreign species may be, in this case, vannamei.

 

Regulations and laws are often ineffective because they are too difficult to enforce, and getting people to cooperate for the good of their environment or the planet as a whole, just doesn’t seem to fly.  The only thing that seems likely to work is economic incentives (or penalties).  The goal should probably be to make it as easy and preferably even more profitable for hatchery and farm operators to work either with SPF animals when using exotic species, or with SPF and/or SPF/SPR (specific pathogen resistant) local species, as it is to work with “illegal” and potentially dangerous imports.

 

At this point, I’m not really concerned about who may be responsible for the appearance of monodon on the Atlantic Coast of the USA.  These animals may be illegal immigrants (if they were released from a USA-based installation), but there is no deporting them at this point.  Like Craig, however, I am very curious to know their geographical origin and, if possible, the approximate time and location of their release or escape, so that we can begin to learn about and keep track of their progress, both in terms of movement and assimilation and their health.  After all, not all immigration is bad, and now that they are here, we should know as much about their past and future as possible.

 

Victor Suresh: Does anyone know of adult vannamei in fisheries off the coasts of Brazil or Venezuela?  Vannamei is an exotic species in these two countries, but I have not seen reports that it is established in the local fisheries there.

 

I was recently in Brazil and heard a comment similar to what Osires de Melo said (above) about the whitespot virus in southern Brazil being attributed to ballast water.  Hard to believe, but the Brazilians swear on it, saying that there has been no live shrimp importation into southern Brazil for a long time.

 

Stephen Newman: It is my understanding that the animals off the coast of Brazil were there as a result of a failed shrimp farm several decades ago.  It is also my understanding that wild monodon are routinely caught off the northern coast of Brazil and have established themselves off the coast of Guyana (northeast coast of South America) as well.  There is no practical way to restrain the movement of animals as long as there is a value to someone for doing so.  There will be a strong trade in illegal animals and the movement of pathogens will continue to be an issue.  Tight regulation and extreme consequences for getting caught will deter some, but the existence of a thriving global black market ensures that these practices will continue to some degree.

 

David Griffith: I understand that monodon was imported into Venezuela and other parts of the Caribbean in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  About three years ago a couple of monodon were caught in Lake Maracaibo by artisanal fisherman (I saw one of these and have photos if interested), and I know of at least one monodon being caught off the Península de Paraguaná (Venezuela).  The general consensus is that while monodon may be occasionally found, it hasn’t been caught in sufficient numbers to suggest established populations.

 

Alain Michel: It is well known that monodon has extended its range to the west coast of Africa where it is frequently found in the trawler catches.  This new population is clearly a result of the escapement from shrimp farms in West Africa.  Maybe they got to the Americas by following logs across the Atlantic.  Concerning a potential settlement of all the exotic species that have been imported and reared as captive broodstock in Tahiti, it has never occurred just because there is no continental shelf.  The lagoon is very small and the slope out of the barrier reef goes straight down to a thousand meters.

 

In the South Pacific, monodon has just extended its range to Fiji, where there are enough mangrove areas suitable for them to make a living.

 

Mario Aguirre: David Griffith’s comments are correct except that monodon was imported in the late 1980s by the Aquacam (now closed) shrimp farm in the Cariaco Gulf in Venezuela.  Also, three monodon have been caught on a shrimp farm in Venezuela.

 

Victor Suresh: Do you know of any vannamei caught from the ocean by fishermen in Venezuela or the Caribbean?  The reason I am asking this question is that one of the concerns expressed in using nonnative stocks is the possibility that the stocks will escape into the wild, become established and compete with local species.  Has the long presence of vannamei in countries like Venezuela and Brazil shown the potential of vannamei getting established in the wild?

 

Hervé Lucien-Brun: Monodon is now relatively common on the west coast of Africa.  A monodon fishing industry has developed in West Africa, especially in Nigeria.  Several people think the origin of the West African monodon was a farming project in Gambia.  The farm failed and the technicians released the stock into the sea.  I don’t know if it’s true because several other monodon projects were initiated in the same area, the Ivory Coast, for example, without success.  After failing, the Gambian project was reborn, and it is now in operation again, this time with wild-captured monodon broodstock from Gambian estuaries.

 

Juan Aguirre: In Ecuador, the Morrison group (Fincacua, Semacua) brought in monodon in the early 1980s and tried it in farms.  It wasn’t very successful and no sightings have been reported.  There are others (Phil Boeing, Bobby Padua) who should know the full story.

 

Camaxdron: Monodon are in Guyana, Trinidad, Venezuela and Colombia (Caribbean side).  They are breeding and surviving with no apparent harm to wild shrimp.  They are entering and growing in vannamei ponds, being caught by trawler fleets, and increasingly, appearing at shrimp processing plants.  They’ve been here a long time.  They command better prices and grow faster than vannamei, and they may have acquired some resistance to our Vibrios and viruses.  How did they get here?  It doesn’t matter.  They may help us escape the current plague of low prices—and help us compete with the millions of tons of vannamei that are coming in from Asia.  Let’s turn the “tortilla” on them.

 

Source: The Shrimp List (a mailing list for shrimp farmers, shrimp-subscribe@yahoogroups.com).  Subject: Monodon culture in the Americas.  October 16-25, 2007.

 

 

South Carolina—Penaeus monodon Catches (January 2, 2009)

                              (Top of Mondon Loose in Western Hemisphere)

 

A local trawler recently caught a half-pound Asian tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon), a nonnative species that gives the term “jumbo shrimp” a whole new meaning.

 

How they got here is a mystery to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.  “It’s been hard for me to find out,” said DNR marine biologist David Knott.  “As far as I know, no one in this country is cultivating them.  There have been a number of tiger shrimp farms in the Caribbean.  ...With all the storms down there, one possibility is that ponds have been breached and these things have gotten out.”

 

Knott also said there are nonindigenous tiger shrimp off the West Africa coast that somehow might have made their way to the southeast coast of the United States.

 

In 1988, tiger shrimp were being raised and studied at South Carolina’s Waddell Mariculture Center in Bluffton.  Ponds there were stocked with about 50,000 tiger shrimp.  One pond screen was not fitted properly and some of them escaped, said Waddell manager Al Stokes.  About 1,000 adults were later recaptured in an area stretching from the waters off Beaufort County to Cape Canaveral, Florida, according to the USA Geological Survey’s nonindigenous aquatic species web site.

 

Stokes said that project’s goal was to determine if tiger shrimp could be farmed in South Carolina.  Researchers found the animals didn’t grow well at high densities, so the facility switched to Pacific white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei), which is the only species raised in South Carolina today.

 

Source: IslandPacket.com.  Jumbo shrimp!  Giant crustaceans hit local waters.  Liz Mitchell (email lmitchell@islandpacket.com, phone 843-706-8169).  December 7, 2008.

 

 

Penaeus monodon May Be Established in USA Waters (February 8, 2012)

                              (Top of Mondon Loose in Western Hemisphere)

 

A breeding population of giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) may be established off the southeastern coast of the United States and in the Gulf of Mexico.

 

In 1988, nearly 300 tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) were collected off the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida after an accidental release of roughly 2,000 animals from the Waddell Mariculture Center in South Carolina.  It’s doubtful if this release has had anything to do with the increase in P. monodon catches that began in 2006 when six monodon were collected in USA waters.  In 2007, four were collected, in 2008 (21), in 2009 (47), in 2010 (32)—and in 2011 (273)!  Monodon has now been found from North Carolina to Texas.  The first documented collections in Mississippi and Texas occurred in 2009 and 2011, respectively.

 

The last attempt to culture tiger shrimp in the United States occurred in Florida in 2004, but a successful harvest was not achieved, and there were no reports of escapes.

 

No one knows the origin of the recent captures in United States waters.  Their occurrence is most likely explained by escapement from shrimp farms following flooding by storms and hurricanes.  Temperature is an important environmental variable that influences the survival and dispersal of wild P. monodon.  Fishermen on the Atlantic coast of South America from Guyana to Colombia and off the coast the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Sea occasionally report catches of monodon.

 

Currently, their impact on the native fauna is uncertain; however, monodon is an aggressive predator of soft-bodied organisms, like juvenile crabs, shrimp, bivalves and snails, and could become a competitor of native shrimp.

 

A team of researchers from the United States Geological Service, the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and several independent scientists is currently attempting to discover the source of the monodon that are appearing along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.  In the fall of 2011, they began gathering specimens and archiving tissue for genetic analyses.

 

Information: David Knott, Poseidon Taxonomic Services, 1942 Ivy Hall Road, Charleston, South Carolina 29407, USA.

 

Information: Pam Fuller, United States Geological Survey, 7920 NW 71st Street, Gainesville, Florida 32653, USA.

 

Information: Tim King, United States Geological Survey, Office of Communication, 119 National Center, Reston, Virginia 20192, USA.

 

Information: James Morris, NOAA’s National Ocean Service, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, 101 Pivers Island Road, Beaufort, North Carolina 28516, USA.

 

Sources: 1. United States Geological Service Webpage.  NAS-Nonindigenous Aquatic Species.  Penaeus monodon/Fact Sheet.  January 24, 2012.  Website Visit on February 4, 2012.  2. Telephone Conversations with David Knott on February 6 and 7, 2012.  3. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, February 8, 2012.

 

 

Louisiana—Giant Tiger Shrimp Invasion (August 6, 2013)

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According to federal scientists, the giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) that have been discovered on the South Atlantic Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico are likely to become permanent residents.  A recent study reports that they will become “established” in the Gulf of Mexico within 10 years.  That means the species is becoming a self-sustaining, breeding population.

 

Kim Chauvin, a Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, shrimp processor and dock owner, says that local shrimp fishermen fear that the invaders might harm native populations.  “We are all worried about it,” she said.  “We are confused and scared and have been asking a lot of questions and not been given many answers.” 

 

With the fishing season for Gulf white shrimp scheduled to being in mid-August (2013), Wildlife and Fisheries biologists are asking local shrimpers to report any tiger shrimp sightings as a way to help scientists study the invasion of the species and possibly get to the bottom of its origin.

 

Pam Fuller, who runs the USA Geological Survey’s Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program, is the lead author of a recently completed, yet-unpublished paper that documents the tiger shrimp invasion from 2005 and 2012.  In past years, more than 90 percent of reported tiger shrimp sightings occurred between August and November, according to that study.

 

Fuller’s paper, which has six co-authors, concludes that the tiger shrimp “is now likely to be established in the southeastern USA along the Atlantic coast and in the Gulf of Mexico” due in part to a two-fold increase in the number of juvenile tiger shrimp observed from 2011 to 2012.  The study also points to an “increasing number of reports from inshore areas that are typically considered to be nursery grounds.”

 

Maggie Hunter, a Geological Survey geneticist, has found that there is very little genetic diversity in the tiger shrimp samples collected along the southeast Atlantic coast in the Gulf of Mexico.  She said that suggests the invading shrimp might have all come from the same ancestors.  Hunter says that the genetic similarities also might help trace the shrimp back to a specific shrimp farm.  She and some colleagues are awaiting shrimp samples from some farms to test against locally collected tiger shrimp.

 

Scientists have speculated that the tiger shrimp in the Gulf likely escaped from a shrimp farm in the Dominican Republic during a hurricane in 2005 and then rode currents to the Gulf.

 

Source:  Nola.com (The Times Picayune).  Massive Tiger Shrimp Invaders Likely Have Settled in Louisiana to Stay.  Benjamin Alexander-Block (email bbloch@nola.com).  August 4, 2013.

 

 

Florida—Tiger Shrimp Invasion (October 29, 2013)
  (Top of Mondon Loose in Western Hemisphere)

 

The Asian giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) has been more of an oddity than a concern to marine researchers over the past 25 years.  Sightings were sufficiently rare for the Florida Department of Natural Resources to put out a “wanted poster” on the big crustacean, asking anyone who came across one to report it to a hotline.

 

Interest in tiger shrimp in USA waters, however, ramped up in late October 2013, especially around St. Augustine, Florida.  That’s because tiger shrimp showed up in numbers unheard of until recent weeks.  Both the Triton II and Miss Renee shrimp boats came to the docks with about 25 pounds each of the tigers mixed in with their normal catch of white shrimp.

 

Matt Sweeney of the Seafood Shoppe fish house says the numbers of tiger shrimp have been rising for a couple of months.

 

Gerald Pack of Mayport’s Safe Harbor Seafood says his boats may pick up two or three tiger shrimp with every drag—“Maybe a dozen in a day,” he said.  “It’s clear they are running with our local stocks of shrimp.

 

Pam Fuller is the gatekeeper on all the data and all the studies on invasive tiger shrimp as the United States Geological Survey’s program leader for the National Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Data Program.

 

She wasn’t surprised by the recent catches.  She was shocked.  Has there ever been a report of such large tiger shrimp catches? “No,” she said, “Never… everything else has been maybe a handful of individuals here and there…nothing like this.”

 

Researchers from the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida are teaming up to try to answer the question of origin.  A researcher at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric (NOAA) research center in North Carolina is interested in getting DNA samples of the specimens caught in Florida to compare them to other samples in a worldwide database.

 

Are the invasive tiger shrimp a threat to local shrimp populations?  No one knows.  They are known to be a more aggressive predator than native shrimp, and local shrimp fishermen worry that they will prey on existing stocks of shrimp.

 

Two decades ago, the Waddell Mariculture Center in Bluffton, South Carolina, conducted an experiment to see if tiger shrimp preyed on white shrimp.  Two very large tiger shrimp were not fed for 24 hours and then put into a 20-gallon aquarium with six dozen 31-count (to the pound) white shrimp.  After 48 hours, the white shrimp were unharmed.

 

Pam Fuller (above) said that one experiment does not convince her.  She adds that, even if the tiger shrimp doesn’t kill native shrimp stocks, it still has a size and strength advantage when competing with them for food.

 

Perhaps the biggest concern is the tiger shrimp’s susceptibility to viral diseases—and the transmission of those diseases to native shrimp stocks.  Transmissions are well-documented at shrimp farms, but Fuller admits that disease and its transmission are much more likely in the confines of a farm pond than the open ocean.

 

If tiger shrimp continue the apparent spike in numbers without damaging existing ecosystems, their presence could be a plus for the maritime economy in general and shrimpers in particular.  It’s another commodity for the seafood industry.

 

Are tiger shrimp a potential seafood best seller?  Yes! The bottom line is the tiger shrimp really shows its stripes in the kitchen.  They are delicious.  The few people who have ever put a wild tiger shrimp to the palate describe it as combination of Maine lobster and jumbo white shrimP.  In a blind taste test, you couldn’t tell one from Florida’s spiny lobster in either taste or texture.

 

Sources: 1. St. Augustine.com.  St. Augustine Ground Zero of Tiger Shrimp Surprise.  The Great Escape.  Jim Sutton.  Part One. October 27, 2013.  2. StAugustine.com.  Tiger Shrimp: Why Here, Why Now? Feeding and breeding?  Jim Sutton.  Part Two. October 28, 2013.

 

 

Questions about Tiger Shrimp in the Western Hemisphere (July 14, 2015)

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For the past two decades, commercial shrimp fishermen on the southeast and Gulf coasts of the United States have been catching increasing numbers of non-indigenous, giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon).  Native to the Indian Ocean and the southwestern Pacific Ocean from Japan to Australia, P. monodon is the largest (maximum length 363 millimeters) and fastest growing of the farmed shrimp.  Because of its large size and carnivorous feeding behavior, USA commercial fishermen fear that tiger shrimp might be preying on their catches of pink, white and brown shrimp, or that they might be passing on diseases to them.

 

Do any of you know of any incidences where tiger shrimp have preyed on any life-stage of another penaeid shrimp or passed on disease to them?

 

Have any of you ever seen a tiger shrimp attack and eat another species of penaeid shrimp?

 

There’s a well know fishery along West Africa’s coast for non-indigenous tiger shrimp.  Do any of you know if that fishery has affected the fishery for the indigenous (native) shrimp?

 

Finally, it’s been over a year since I’ve heard anything about catches of tiger shrimp off the east coasts of Mexico and South America or in the Caribbean Sea.  If you know anything about the catches of tiger shrimp in those areas, please forward that information to me.

 

If you would like to comment on any of this, please forward your comments to Shrimp News (bob@shrimpnews.com).

 

I plan to post your responses to these questions to this webpage.

 

Source: Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, July 13, 2015.

 

 

Florida—Fisherman Catches Twelve-Foot-Long Giant Tiger Shrim
(July 11, 2015)   (Top of Mondon Loose in Western Hemisphere)

 

   

 

Oops, I meant to say a “twelve-inch-long, giant tiger shrimp!”

 

On July 9, 2015, a commercial shrimp fisherman caught a twelve-inch-long, giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) on the St. Johns River in northeast Florida.  It’s no longer unusual for shrimpers to catch tiger shrimp, an invasive species from Asia, along the southeast and Gulf coasts of the United States, but one twelve inches long is rarity.

 

The two maps below show the increase in the incidence of tiger shrimp catches in the United States from 2000 to 2014:

 

Shrimp News: I’ve been tracking the catches of tiger shrimp in the United States since 1989, over fifteen years, and some of the statements made by shrimp fishermen in this news report and video are stretches of the imagination, statements like: “They [P. monodon] would love to eat on our shrimp.”  Although the state of South Carolina is taking part in a regional study to determine if invasive tiger shrimp eat native shrimp, nothing, to the best of my knowledge, has been published that says they do.  Nor, to the best of my knowledge, do tiger shrimp prey on commercial shrimp species anywhere in the world.

 

Source: 1. First Coast News.  Foot-Long Tiger Shrimp Caught on the First Coast.  Steven Dial.  July 10, 2015.  2. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, July 1, 2017.

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Is Penaeus indicus a Good Species for Farming?

 

Daniel Gruenberg (daniel@acquestra.com): I don’t recommend Penaeus indicus for any commercial farm.  Period.  P. vannamei can handle high salinities as well as indicus, and it’s a better species for farming.  I’ve seen vannamei farms at 60-65 PPT.  Vannamei farms in Sonora, Mexico, and Iran also get very high salinities.

 

Patrick Wood (patrickjwood@yahoo.com): Daniel, please tell us why you don’t recommend indicus.

 

Daniel Gruenberg (daniel@acquestra.com): Patrick, can you point out a commercially successful indicus farm anywhere in the world?

 

Every indicus farm that I know of has failed.  The National Prawn Company’s (NPC, now named National Aquaculture Group) big farm in Saudi Arabia was a big failure that didn’t succeed until it brought in vannamei from Latin America.  Even with Dr. Roger Doyle as their geneticist and years of selective breeding, they couldn’t achieve any sustainable genetic gains with indicus.

 

There is no commercial SPF or SPR genetic program anywhere on Earth for indicus.  So why on Earth would anyone choose indicus?

 

Marcel Selfer (marcel.selfer@gmail.com): Didn’t these indicus comments start in the “Salinity” discussion on The List?

 

Daniel Gruenberg (daniel@acquestra.com): Yes Marcel you are correct.  They appeared in another discussion on The List.

 

At one time in the shrimp industry it was thought that areas with high salinity like Iran and Saudi Arabia had to use indicus for salinity tolerance, but later it was shown that vannamei is quite tolerant of high salinities, and genetically improved, resistant stocks of it are available.  Salinity levels of 40 to 45 PPT are not all that high; I have clients whose ponds commonly reach 60-65 PPT.

 

Indicus, for some strange reason, failed to achieve sustainable genetic gains despite the huge effort of Saudi Arabia’s National Prawn Company and geneticist Roger Doyle.

 

As far as I know, there is not one commercially successful indicus farm on the planet, other than some small farms in India and the Middle East.

 

I make this point because some countries have policies that insist on indicus farming, and because of that, they have no shrimp farming industry.

 

Haydar Alsahtout (alsahtout@yahoo.com): Hi all, I don’t think Daniel’s comments reflect the true status of indicus and the National Prawn Company.

 

I’ve spent more than 25 years in shrimp farming and have cultivated the three most common commercial species.  Starting with monodon in 1990, I established one of the largest operations in Southeast Asia.  In 2000, I managed Saudi Arabia’s National Prawn Company, the world’s largest indicus farm.  In 2012, I participated in the introduction of vannamei to that farm.

 

I would like to put things into perspective.  The strength and the widespread use of vannamei around the world is a testament to the superiority of this species.  It resulted from the great efforts and the enormous research programs by the best research institutions in the world, mainly in the USA, which focused on the domestication of this species and the production of specific pathogen free (SPF) strains.

 

As for indicus, comparisons with other species will certainly put it near the top of the tastiest list, along with monodon and japonicus.  On that list vannamei belongs at the bottom.  Vannamei is the Tilapia of Shrimp, while indicus is certainly the Grouper.

 

As for the claim that indicus failed to achieve sustainable genetic gains despite the huge effort of National Prawn and Dr. Doyle, that statement is baseless because the gains exceeded our projections.  Also, we should not forget that these efforts were managed and financed by one company, while vannamei’s ascendency was sponsored by a group of nations and a huge number of institutions.  At the time, indicus production was limited geographically—but favored by quality-oriented markets, like Japan.  Indicus was on the top of the quality list for years before production stopped in 2012.  We had years of great success.  SPF indicus, developed at National Prawn in the 2000s, was in its 25th generation, the oldest domesticated shrimp strain in the world.

 

In my opinion, indicus will remain one of the best species for shrimp farming.  We need to create a rating scale so we can differentiate between what is good, very good and excellent.

 

Daniel Gruenberg (daniel@acquestra.com): Haydar, I don’t dispute what you say.  If you read my statement, it says there are no commercially successful indicus operations today.

 

The genetic gains made at National Prawn may have exceeded expectations at one point in time, but over the long term, they were not sustainable because they were eventually lost due to unknown reasons.  This information comes directly from those responsible for the project at National Prawn.

 

If indicus is so great, why did National Prawn have to change to vannamei to achieve success?

 

I’m talking from a commercial point of view not a product-quality point of view.

 

Haydar Alsahtout (alsahtout@yahoo.com): Hi All and Daniel, National Prawn changed to vannamei despite the great potential of indicus—for the same reasons that drove the Southeast Asia shrimp farmers to shift to vannamei, despite the super potential of monodon.

 

Daniel, you said, National Prawns “gains were eventually lost due to unknown reasons.”  That’s not correct.  The company knew very well what was happening.  I am not in a position to discuss this now, but the fact is that there were various reasons that prevented indicus from continuing its success, and I am sure that the industry learned a lot from these painful lessons.

 

Anil Ghanekar (anilghanekar@yahoo.com): What needs to be done to bring indicus up to vannamei’s level?

 

Daniel Gruenberg (daniel@acquestra.com): Anil, what needs to be done to bring indicus up to speed with vannamei?  Twenty years of breeding and millions of dollars of investment.  Simple.

 

Oh, but wait, one of the best shrimp geneticists in the world ran the last indicus program, and it finally ended in failure, so it may be a bit difficult to get investors to come up with the millions or even hundreds of millions of dollars of investment needed to get indicus to the similar status as vannamei.

 

Good luck with that.

 

Daniel Gruenberg (daniel@acquestra.com): Okay Haydar, again, on most issues I agree with you.  I am just saying if I were to start a shrimp farming operation today, indicus would be my last choice of species.

 

National Prawn made the move to vannamei due to commercial realities.  I don’t think any farm in its right mind would consider using indicus today.

 

It’s a bit futile to argue otherwise because there are no commercially successful indicus farms.

 

You may well be right that someday there will be a SPR/SPF indicus program, but today no such thing exists, and no large-scale, farm is growing indicus.

 

Daniel Gruenberg (daniel@acquestra.com): Now I would like to respectfully disagree with Haydar on several points:

 

The change from monodon to vannamei at National Prawn was due to the commercial failure of monodon after the whitespot breakout.  At the time, there was no successful breeding program for monodon because, as a closed thylecum species, it was much more difficult to breed, compared to vannamei.  In addition, vannamei was SPF, and wild-caught, monodon breeders were not.  Vannamei also allowed much higher stocking densities and hence produced a lot more profit per square meter, with shorter cash flow cycles and reduced risk.  In short, vannamei beat out monodon because it was much more commercially viable.

 

In contrast, National Prawn had a long-term breeding program that attempted to achieve genetic gains.  Despite all this effort, vannamei won out commercially simply because it had greater commercial viability.

 

I have been in direct contact with the scientists running National Prawn.  My information comes directly from them, and they tell a different story than yours.

 

The commercial reality is that vannamei won and indicus lost and today no commercially viable indicus farm exists, and I predict one will never exist in the future.

 

I completely understand your pride in the indicus species.  This mirrors my experience with japonicus, a delicacy superior to any vannamei.  But vannamei has taken over the world for one reason and one reason only.  It’s more profitable.  Period.

 

Hawaii’s SPF vannamei have some problems, but other SPR/SPF programs in different parts of the world are showing tremendous successes, and I don’t think any funding body is going to risk starting over again with indicus.

 

There are some nice breeding programs for producing SPF, genetically improved monodon.  I just can’t see any private or government entity funding indicus breeding anywhere in the world for the foreseeable future.  Consequently, no shrimp farm will even consider growing indicus.

 

Indicus is at the bottom of the commercial reality the list.

 

Haydar, please tell me, notwithstanding your great pride in the local indicus species, would you advise a shrimp farmer to grow indicus?

 

Haydar Alsahtout (alsahtout@yahoo.com): For a new shrimp farmer, I would advise him to start with the best available species for his area and markets.  Today, my answer would be vannamei because it would not be wise for a new farmer to start with a new species that’s not supported by advance production technology.  At the same time, I would advise that farmer to start a breeding program with others in the industry with the objectives of developing an alternative to vannamei, so his investment would be protected over the long term.

 

Patrick Wood (patrickjwood@yahoo.com): Where vannamei is endemic, there have only been minimal outlays for breeding programs.  My advice would be not to depend on genetic experts at all in breeding shrimp for success.  Use them by all means if you feel they give you an advantage, but don’t think they have anything more special in application or tools than a farmer selectively breeding from his ponds.  There is no magic involved, and if there is something that geneticist can do, surely it would already have been done.

 

Daniel Gruenberg (daniel@acquestra.com): Modern SPF/SPR strains of vannamei bred in Thailand are getting more and more resistant to WSSV, EMS and EHP, three of the most important diseases in Southeast Asia.  Along with increases in resistance, shrimp are growing faster—over two grams a week—and feed conversion ratios (FCRs) have dropped to 0.9 to 1.0.  And guess what Indonesia is achieving: stocking densities of 200 to 300 postlarvae per square meter, up to 500 PLs/m2.

 

What were National Prawn’s numbers when indicus was doing well?  Anywhere near the above numbers?  I think not, and this is my point.  Commercial reality and genetic gains drove the displacement of indicus.  Those countries in the Middle East that are forcing farmers to use native species will simply not become shrimp farming countries.  That is my prediction, and I will stand by it.  I was consulting for a Middle Eastern country that wanted to force its farmers to do indicus.  I did my due diligence and spoke with the highest-ranking person in the National Prawn’s genetics program.  My unequivocal conclusion was that it’s not commercially viable to farm indicus.  Even after all this debate and nice information sharing I still stand by my conclusion.

 

I won’t argue with you about indicus being a tastier species than vannamei, and Japonicus is also fantastic when eaten raw in sushi.  That’s why the Japanese pay upwards of $100 a kilogram for it.  However, they only produce 2,000 metric tons of it a year, less than 0.1% of total farmed shrimp production.  Indicus is a niche product with poor growout performance.

 

K.K. Vijayan (vijayankk@gmail.com): We at the Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA-Chennai) under the Indian council of agricultural research (ICAR-Govt of India) have initiated a program on farming indicus—as a first step in the development of a selective breeding program.  Our Initial results are very impressive.  In a growth test with vannamei as a control, native indicus had the same growth rate as vannamei up to 20 grams, and then the vannamei grew faster.  Click here to see the results of those trials.

 

We will advance this breeding program, and we sincerely feel that countries with any interest in indicus need to join a partnership to promote a selective breeding program for it.  We need a backup for vannamei.  Yes, we need vannamei—and monodon and indicus!

 

John Birkett (jbirkett42@yahoo.com): Haydar, as you pointed out, vannamei is the species of choice right now.  No other species has had as much invested in its genetic development.  We used to work with stylirostris as our second choice in the Americas, and we found out that it was more susceptible to whitespot than vannamei.  The spread of pandemics is really difficult to stop even with the best of aquaculture practices and biosecurity.  We do need alternative species in case vannamei gets whipped out.  It would be nice if someone funded a project for improving the genetics of indicus and stylirostris.

 

Haydar Alsahtout (alsahtout@yahoo.com): John, I totally agree with you.  If we don’t start thinking out of the box, the shrimp industry won’t go forward.

 

As far as government funding to support R&D programs for indicus, I don’t think it’s possible on a regional basis, but it might be possible at the state level.

 

In my opinion, to bring indicus back to the farm will require close collaboration between industry (all stakeholders) and research institutions, which will only be possible if the market expresses a demand for indicus.

 

Sources: 1. The Shrimp List (a mailing list for shrimp farmers).  Subjects: Indicus and Salinity.  March 22 to April 4, 2017.  2. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, April 5, 2017.

 

Penaeus vannamei May Get

Its Name Back

Top of Page

 

 

In a 1997 book, Penaeoid and Sergestoid Shrimps and Prawns of the World (Keys and Diagnoses for the Families and Genera), Dr. Isabel Perez Farfante and Dr. Brian Kensley proposed some changes in the way scientists refer to the popular farmed shrimp species, and those changes were generally accepted by scientists worldwide.  Except for the giant tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon, which got to keep the “Penaeus” title, all the other popular farmed species had to add a few syllables to their genus name (the first half of the scientific name).  Good old Penaeus vannamei became Litopenaeus vannamei.  And there were similar changes for stylirostris, indicus, chinensis, japonicus and several other farmed species.  Now there is evidence that those changes might not fit with the most recent molecular analysis of the penaeids.

 

In a paper presented at the World Aquaculture Society Meeting in Bali, Indonesia (May 2005), researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, say:

 

A book published in 1997 suggested that the genus be separated into six subgenera—“but this is not supported by results of molecular phylogenetic analysis.”  Based on mtDNA, penaeids can be separated into two clades [a group with common features], one of which consists of Penaeus japonicus (now in the new monotypic subgenus Marsupenaeus) and species in the subgenus Melicertus as a paraphyletic assemblage.  The other four subgenera (including the two occurring in the Western Hemisphere) [presumably Penaeus vannamei and P. stylirostris] make up another clade, but whether species in the subgenus Penaeus are monophyletic is doubtful.

 

Help from Wikipedia (the free, online encylopedia/glossary): “In phylogenetics, a group is monophyletic (Greek: of one stem) if all organisms in that group are known to have developed from a common ancestral form, and all descendants of that form are included in the group.  A taxonomic group that contains organisms but not their common ancestor is called polyphyletic, and a group that contains some but not all descendants of the most recent common ancestor is called paraphyletic.  The grouping of reptiles and birds is generally believed to be monophyletic.  For example, all organisms in the genus Homo are believed to have come from the same ancestral form in the family Hominidae, and no other descendants are known.  Thus the genus Homo is monophyletic.  If, on the other hand, it were discovered that Homo habilis had developed from a different ancestor than Homo sapiens, and this ancestor was not included in the genus, then the genus would be polyphyletic.  Since biologists by and large prefer groups to be monophyletic, in this case they would likely either split the genus or broaden it to include the additional forms.”

 

Back to the Chinese University Study: Genetic studies have been conducted on P. chinensis, P. monodon, P. merguiensis and P. japonicus.  Studies based on mtDNA and microsatellites show that there is little genetic structure [difference] in P. chinensis within its geographical range in northern China and Korea.

 

Homogeneous populations of monodon in the southwest Indian Ocean indicate a high gene flow over great geographical distances.  In contrast, populations of monodon in the Indonesian Archipelago are divided into three clusters and those in the Philippines are also fragmented, showing that shrimp populations could be structured [classified by their differences].  A strong difference exists between populations of monodon in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

 

A similar biogeographic break has been demonstrated for merguiensis.  A 5% divergence between the two merguiensis clades [groups] in the Pacific and Indian Oceans suggests the possible existence of two species, although analysis of nuclear DNA markers does not support this view.

 

Recent studies in our laboratory show that two morphologically similar varieties of japonicus with different color banding patterns in the carapace exhibit a divergence of 6-7%.  Analyses clearly demonstrated the occurrence of a species in Southeast Asia that is distinct from the one in Japan and China.

 

Sources: 1. World Aquaculture 2005 Abstracts (a CD of the 700+ abstracts of the World Aquaculture Society’s Meeting in Bali, Indonesia, May 2005).  Genetic Differentiation of Penaeid Shrimps in the Indo-West Pacific–A Review. Ka Hou Chu (kahouchu@cuhk.edu.hk), Kwok Ho Tsoi and Zhaoxia Cui (Department of Biology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong, China).  Information: John Cooksey, WAS Conference Manager (email worldaqua@aol.com).  2. Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page).  June 18, 2005.

 

 

Penaeus vannamei Gets Its Name Back

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The April 6, 2007, issue of the journal Aquaculture contains a review article written by Dr. T.W. Flegel, a professor at Mahidol University in Thailand, that says it’s okay to drop the “Lito” from Litopenaeus and use the binomial*Penaeus vannamei again! In fact, the journal Aquaculture, the most prestigious of the fish and shellfish farming journals, encourages it!

 

[*Binomial nomenclature: In biology, the formal method of naming species. As the word “binomial” suggests, the scientific name of a species is formed by the combination of two terms: the genus name, in this case “Penaeus”, and the specific descriptor, in this case “vannamei”.]

 

In a 1997 book, Penaeoid and Sergestoid Shrimps and Prawns of the World (Keys and Diagnoses for the Families and Genera), Dr. Isabel Pérez Farfante and Dr. Brian Kensley proposed some changes in the way scientists refer to the popular farmed shrimp species, and those changes were routinely accepted by scientists worldwide. Except for the giant tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon, which got to keep the “Penaeus” title, all the other popular farmed species had to add a few syllables to their genus name. Good old Penaeus vannamei became Litopenaeus vannamei. And there were similar changes for stylirostris, indicus, chinensis, japonicus and several other farmed species.

 

 

Excerpts from the Abstract of Flegel’s Review

 

 “Pérez Farfante and Kensley’s monograph of the penaeoid and sergestoid shrimps and prawns of the world incorporated a proposed taxonomic revision by raising former sub-genera in the genus Penaeus to generic rank. This would result in replacement of the 27 traditional penaeid shrimp binomials with an almost completely new set. Due to general unfamiliarity regarding the rules of zoological nomenclature, non-specialists in the shrimp industry and even scientists in related academic fields felt that they were obliged by taxonomic rules to follow the changes embodied in the monograph, whether they agreed with them or not. Others more familiar with their rights (including myself) continued to use the traditional binomials. The result has been some confusion in shrimp nomenclature in the succeeding nine years.”

 

“The purpose of this review is to argue that the revisions embodied in the Pérez Farfante and Kensley monograph are extremely disruptive to communication amongst practitioners in the shrimp fishery and the shrimp aquaculture industry and to scientists and students who study shrimp. This feature alone is counter to the goal of stability embodied in the zoological code of nomenclature and can alone be sufficient justification to consider the proposed revisions unacceptable. Indeed, the success of proposed taxonomic revisions does not fall under the zoological code, since the code is concerned with issues of priority. Instead, revisions survive or die depending on the majority action of the whole impacted community acting as individuals to accept them by use or reject them by disuse. Apart from arguments based on nomenclatural stability, I will attempt to show that sufficient new genetic information on penaeid shrimp has been accumulated in the past nine years to show that there is no compelling reason to accept the revisions.

 

 

Excerpts from the Body of Flegel’s Review

 

“The purpose of this review is to describe the background for the proposed taxonomic revision in Penaeus, to inform the general shrimp community of their right to partake in accepting or rejecting the proposed revision and to propose a way forward in the interim transitory period during which the majority opinion about the proposed revision is determined.”

 

“Thus, decisions regarding taxonomic ranks are determined by a consensus process amongst end users. Disagreements are not uncommon, even among specialists.”

 

“No one is obliged by the rules of zoological nomenclature to accept the revisions in penaeid shrimp binomials proposed by Pérez Farfante and Kensley (1997). Given the potential disruptive effect of the proposed changes in scientific communication and trade, I believe that very strong arguments should have been put forward as to why the changes were technically and practically necessary. This should have involved a discussion of all the issues as they might impact on the shrimp fishery and the shrimp culture industry. Ideally in such situations, all those impacted should listen to one another, recognize and respect other points of view and thereby gain a broader appreciation of systematics and of the whole range of different attitudes held by colleagues around the world.”

 

“Since such a process did not take place prior to publication of the Pérez Farfante and Kensley (1997) monograph, it must take place after the fact, and it is important that all the people who use penaeid shrimp binomials understand that they have an individual right to accept the proposed revisions or reject them. The way to express their opinion is simply to use the binomial system of their choice in speech and in writing. However, this decision should be carefully considered. Therefore, I would like to present some arguments that might be made for and against the proposed revisions.”

 

“I recommend that authors who are pressured by journal editors to adhere to the proposed Pérez Farfante and Kensley (1997) revisions against their will and as a requirement for publication withdraw their article and submit it to a different journal that has an unbiased and non-coercive editorial policy.”

 

In his Acknowledgements at the end of the review, Flegel says: “I would like to thank Dr. William ‘Bill’ Dall formerly with the Queensland Museum and CSIRO Australia for the inspiration to write this article and for his valuable comments and encouragement during its preparation.”

 

You can purchase a copy of Flegel’s seven-page review at ScienceDirect www.sciencedirect.com) for $30.

 

 

Editors at Aquaculture Say Penaeus vannamei

 

Aquaculture not only placed Flegel’s article at the very beginning of the April 2007 issue of its journal, it preceded it with an editorial in favor of the name change, saying: We wish to draw your attention to a paper by T.W. Flegel entitled “The right to refuse revision in the genus Penaeus”. ...We are in agreement with the arguments put forward in T.W. Flegel’s paper and have agreed that Aquaculture prefers submissions on penaeid shrimp use the generic epithet Penaeus, preferably qualified at the first mention by Flegel’s proposal, namely to follow the rules of zoological nomenclature by placing the subgenus names in brackets between the traditional genus name Penaeus and the relevant species name at first mention [e.g., Penaeus (Fenneropenaeus) chinensis]. The editors do not however wish to be “coercive” in this matter and so authors who feel strongly supportive of the revised Pérez Farfante and Kensley (1997) generic names should use Flegel’s alternative at the first mention of the genus to indicate that another name is also used [e.g., Fenneropenaeus chinensis (also called Penaeus chinensis)].

 

Information: Professor Timothy William Flegel, Center of Excellence for Shrimp Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (Centex Shrimp) Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Rama VI Road, Bangkok 10400 Thailand (phone 66-2-201-5876, fax 66-2-354-7344, email sctwf@mahidol.ac.th, webpage http://www.sc.mahidol.ac.th/scbt/academics/research_areas/tf_homepage.htm).

 

Sources: 1. Aquaculture (www.elsevier.com/locate/aqua-online). a. Review Article: The right to refuse revision in the genus Penaeus. T.W. Flegel. Volume 264, Issues 1-4, Page 2, April 6, 2007. b. Editorial: Use of the generic name Penaeus. D.J. Alderman, B.A. Costa-Pierce, E.M. Donaldson, G. Hulata and R.P. Wilson. Volume 264, Issues 1-4, Page 1, April 6, 2007. 2. Penaeoid and Sergestoid Shrimps and Prawns of the World (Keys and Diagnoses for the Families and Genera). Dr. Isabel Pérez Farfante and Dr. Brian Kensley (illustrations by Molly Kelly Ryan). 1997. Information (in France): Delphine Henry, Sales Manager, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Publications Scientifiques Division, 57, rue Cuvier, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France (phone 33-01-40-79-37-00, fax 33-01-40-79-38-40, email dhenry@mnhn.fr); and (outside of France) Backhuys Publishers, P.O. Box 321, NL-2300 AH Leiden, The Netherlands (phone 31-71-517-0208, fax 31-71-517-1856, emaib backhuys@backhuys.com, webpage http://www.backhuys.com).

 

 

Why Do You Still Say Litopenaeus vannamei

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In a 1997 book, Penaeoid and Sergestoid Shrimps and Prawns of the World (Keys and Diagnoses for the Families and Genera), Dr. Isabel Pérez Farfante (deceased) and Dr. Brian Kensley (deceased) proposed some changes in the way scientists refer to the popular farmed shrimp species, and those changes were generally accepted by scientists worldwide.  Except for the giant tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon, which got to keep the “Penaeus” title, all the other popular farmed species had to add a few syllables to their genus name (the first half of the scientific name).  Good old Penaeus vannamei became Litopenaeus vannamei.  And there were similar changes for stylirostris, indicus, chinensis, japonicus and several other farmed species.

 

Most scientists, journal editors and aquaculture publications quickly adopted the name changes suggested by Pérez Farfante and Kensley; however, there were a few scientist and participants in the shrimp farming industry that did not go along with the name change.

 

At the time of the proposed name changes, Dan Fegan, the owner and editor of The Shrimp List, said: “The acceptance of the promotion of the subgenera of penaeid shrimp to the  genus level by Perez and Kensley (1997) is not universally accepted and the  revision has not yet been accepted by the International Commission for  Taxonomy and Nomenclature.  No one is obliged to follow the new taxonomy for generic names (as opposed to species names where, if a name is adequately described according to the accepted rules, it must be accepted).  Only if a taxonomist considers a new species description to be inadequate may he/she appeal to the International Commission.  If they do not accept the genus under which the new species has been included, they are not obliged to do so.  What this means is that species have to be recognized, but higher taxa, including genera do not.  Soooo...I’ll be sticking to Penaeus in the future.  I’m too old to change and remember all of the new names.”

 

At the time of the proposed name changes, Jeff Peterson, who decades ago farmed catfish and then shrimp and currently works as a quality control specialist for the Global Aquaculture Alliance, said: “I support sticking with Penaeus vannamei.  In the ongoing battle between the taxonomic lumpers and splitters I’m a lumper kind of guy.”

 

Even Dr. Donald Lightner, the famed shrimp pathologist at the University of Arizona in the United States, continued to use Penaeus vannamei until a few years ago.

 

Then, in the April 6, 2007, issue of the journal Aquaculture, a review article written by Dr. T.W. Flegel, a professor at Mahidol University in Thailand, said it’s okay to drop the “Lito” from Litopenaeus and use Penaeus vannamei again!  In fact, Aquaculture, the most prestigious of the fish and shellfish farming journals, encouraged it!

 

In his review article in Aquaculture, Dr. Flegel said: “Due to general unfamiliarity regarding the rules of zoological nomenclature, non-specialists in the shrimp industry and even scientists in related academic fields felt that they were obliged by taxonomic rules to follow the changes embodied in the monograph, whether they agreed with them or not.  Others more familiar with their rights (including myself) continued to use the traditional binomials.  The result has been some confusion in shrimp nomenclature in the succeeding nine years.  The purpose of this review is to argue that the revisions embodied in the Pérez Farfante and Kensley monograph are extremely disruptive to communication amongst practitioners in the shrimp fishery and the shrimp aquaculture industry and to scientists and students who study shrimp.  This feature alone is counter to the goal of stability embodied in the zoological code of nomenclature and can alone be sufficient justification to consider the proposed revisions unacceptable.  Indeed, the success of proposed taxonomic revisions does not fall under the zoological code, since the code is concerned with issues of priority.  Instead, revisions survive or die depending on the majority action of the whole impacted community acting as individuals to accept them by use or reject them by disuse.  Apart from arguments based on nomenclatural stability, I will attempt to show that sufficient new genetic information on penaeid shrimp has been accumulated in the past nine years to show that there is no compelling reason to accept the revisions.”

 

“No one is obliged by the rules of zoological nomenclature to accept the revisions in penaeid shrimp binomials proposed by Pérez Farfante and Kensley (1997). Given the potential disruptive effect of the proposed changes in scientific communication and trade, I believe that very strong arguments should have been put forward as to why the changes were technically and practically necessary. This should have involved a discussion of all the issues as they might impact on the shrimp fishery and the shrimp culture industry. Ideally in such situations, all those impacted should listen to one another, recognize and respect other points of view and thereby gain a broader appreciation of systematics and of the whole range of different attitudes held by colleagues around the world.”

 

“I recommend that authors who are pressured by journal editors to adhere to the proposed Pérez Farfante and Kensley (1997) revisions against their will and as a requirement for publication withdraw their article and submit it to a different journal that has an unbiased and non-coercive editorial policy.”

 

In his Acknowledgements at the end of the review, Flegel said: “I would like to thank Dr. William ‘Bill’ Dall formerly with the Queensland Museum and CSIRO Australia for the inspiration to write this article and for his valuable comments and encouragement during its preparation.”

 

Aquaculture not only placed Flegel’s article at the very beginning of the April 2007 issue of its journal, it preceded it with an editorial in favor of the name change, saying: We wish to draw your attention to a paper by T.W. Flegel entitled “The right to refuse revision in the genus Penaeus”. ...We are in agreement with the arguments put forward in T.W. Flegel’s paper and have agreed that Aquaculture prefers submissions on penaeid shrimp use the generic epithet Penaeus, preferably qualified at the first mention by Flegel’s proposal, namely to follow the rules of zoological nomenclature by placing the subgenus names in brackets between the traditional genus name Penaeus and the relevant species name at first mention [e.g., Penaeus (Fenneropenaeus) chinensis]. The editors do not however wish to be “coercive” in this matter and so authors who feel strongly supportive of the revised Pérez Farfante and Kensley (1997) generic names should use Flegel’s alternative at the first mention of the genus to indicate that another name is also used [e.g., Fenneropenaeus chinensis (also called Penaeus chinensis)].

 

 

The Final Blow to Litopenaeus

 

The final blow to Litopenaeus should have come with the publication of “Refuting the Six-Genus Classification of Penaeus s.l. [sensu lato, meaning ‘in the broad sense’] (Dendrobranchiata, Penaeidae): A Combined Analysis of Mitochondrial and Nuclear Genes” by Ka Yan Ma, Tin-Yam  Chan and Ka  Hou  Chu (email kahouchu@cuhk.edu.hk, Simon F. S. Li Marine Science Laboratory, School of Life Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong).  Zoologica Scripta, Volume 40, Issue 5, Pages 498–508, September 2011.

 

The study provides solid morphological and genetic information on why the name change should never have been made, but even thought it was published over three years ago, it has had little effect on the way scientists and others refer to the penaeids.

 

Here Are Some Quotes from the Study

 

“The suppressing of genera or subgenera in Penaeus s.l. (or, in other words, restoring the old Penaeus genus = Penaeus s.l. [sensu lato, meaning ‘in the broad sense’]) is deemed most appropriate for the current state, for two reasons. Firstly, the morphological and molecular data are in agreement under this scheme.  Because molecular data from both the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes strongly suggest that Penaeus s.l. is monophyletic, the only scheme in which the current morphological predictions concur with molecular data is the Penaeus s.l. concept.  Secondly, given that the six-genus scheme has been found to be invalid, restoring the old Penaeus genus would cause less confusion to users than proposing a newly defined two-genus or three-genus scheme as discussed previously.  Speaking on behalf of the stakeholders on the issue of Penaeus s.l. taxonomy, Flegel (2008) suggested that the most disruptive option would be ‘to discard the original genus concept or to more narrowly define it, and then to propose a number of new genera…’, whereas the least disruptive decision would be to ‘preserve the old genus concept’.  Although such lumping of taxa would create a species-rich Penaeus genus with high intrageneric genetic and morphological differences, this case is not matchless.  Among crustaceans, the freshwater crayfish Cherax (with 34 species, De Grave et al. 2009), the shrimp Metapenaeopsis (74 species, De Grave et al. 2009) and the squat lobster Munida (246 species, De Grave et al. 2009) also contain lineages with genetic divergence comparable with or even higher than that shown in Penaeus s.l. (see Tong et al. 2000; Munasinghe et al. 2004; Cabezas et al. 2008, 2009), but these genera are not split into smaller taxonomic units.”

 

“To sum up, in terms of both scientific evidence and constructing a workable classification scheme, here we find that reinstating the old Penaeus genus and dismissing the six genera/subgenera are deemed most justifiable, at least for the time being. We recommend that only when some morphological characters can be mapped to the molecular phylogenetic tree should the genus Penaeus be formally subdivided.”

 

Here is the Study’s Abstract

 

 “The taxonomic revision in 1997 of the shrimps formerly classified in Penaeus s.l. has been one of the most controversial issues on systematics of the decapods in recent years.  Since Pérez Farfante and Kensley (Penaeoid and Sergestoid Shrimps and Prawns of the World, 1997) split this long-accepted taxon into six genera, much debate has been devoted to their proposed new classification scheme; this has taken place because there are serious doubts whether the said scheme could reflect the evolutionary relationships among the 29 Penaeus s.l. species.  Although these shrimps can be easily separated into several groups morphologically, whether these subdivisions are truly monophyletic and warrant a generic rank continues to be hotly debated among taxonomists.  This study examined a total of 2425 bp sequences from three nuclear protein genes (enolase, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase and sodium–potassium ATPase a-subunit), and the mitochondrial 16S and 12S rRNA gene of 18 Penaeus s.l. shrimps and 13 other species in the family Penaeidae.  Our phylogenetic analyses strongly support the monophyly of Penaeus s.l. and, concurring with previous studies that used the mitochondrial genes alone, the paraphyly of both Penaeus s.s. (sensu Pérez Farfante and Kensley, Penaeoid and Sergestoid Shrimps and Prawns of the World, 1997) and Melicertus, rendering them non-natural groupings.  Our study reveals two  lineages: Penaeus s.s. + Fenneropenaeus + Litopenaeus + Farfantepenaeus and Melicertus + Marsupenaeus, which exhibit genetic divergences comparable with those among other penaeid genera.  However, all the morphological characters, which are emphasized by Pérez Farfante and Kensley and used to separate Penaeus s.l., do not correlate with the grouping revealed by the present, perhaps decisive, phylogenetic result.  Such disparity may arise from selection on the morphology of genitalia and convergent evolution.

 

Our molecular data clearly refute the six-genus classification, and we advocate the restoration of the old Penaeus genus (= Penaeus s.l.) definition which is the only classification scheme with both the morphological and the molecular data being in agreement.”

 

Updates

 

In an email to Dan Fegan on October 3, 2014, Professor Flegel wrote:

 

“With respect to any future changes in taxonomy that might be proposed, my opinion is that they be confined to the sub-genus category.  That level of classification would be sufficient to indicate genetic sub-relationships in the genus Penaeus without disturbing links to the previous literature, without requiring any name changes in regulations and without causing any economic problems (e.g., the need to change package labeling) in this very important industry.”

 

In an email to Shrimp News on February 9, 2015, Professor Flegel wrote:

 

“In response to a recent inquiry about the Penaeus versus new genus names, I did a quick search for new information and found the attached paper (above). They show clearly that the 6-genus scheme is not tenable but indicate that there may be some support for dividing the genus into two new gerera instead of 6.  That has been the conclusion of other molecular studies too.  However, at the end of the paper, they say there is precedence from other crustacean groups of similar or wider diversity for keeping to a single genus and in their final sentence they state, ‘We recommend that only when some morphological characters can be mapped to the molecular phylogenetic tree should the genus Penaeus be formally subdivided’.”

 

“I think I will start all my future lectures with a reference to this paper and its recommendations.  I’m glad someone finally did some more detailed work including nuclear genes in addition to mitochondrial genes.”

 

Information: Professor Timothy William Flegel, Center of Excellence for Shrimp Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (Centex Shrimp) Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Rama VI Road, Bangkok 10400 Thailand (phone 66-2-201-5876, fax 66-2-354-7344, email tim.flegel@gmail.com, webpage http://www.sc.mahidol.ac.th/scbt/academics/research_areas/tf_homepage.htm).

 

Progress of Shrimp and Prawn Aquaculture in the World, a new book (2016) on the history of shrimp farming, says the following in its Introduction:

 

At present, there are diversified opinions on the scientific names of the farmed shrimp species.  The nomenclature proposed by Perez Farfante and Kensley (1997) has been disputed by several authore (Flegel, 2008 and Ma et al 2011) who returned the genus of panaeids to Penaeus.  In this book, the editors use just one genus—Penaeus, but sill use Fenneropenaeus, Litopenaeus, Farfantepenaeus, Melicertus and Marsupenaeus (in parentheses in some cases) if they were preferred by the chapter authors.

 

 

When Shrimp Ruled the World

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Those were the days my friend. Yes, those were the days. And only 525 million years ago. That’s when anomalocaridids, six-foot-long, shrimp-like animals, were the top predators in the marine food chain. A 1994 article in the journal Science says: “Anomalocaridids were active predators, as indicated by the raptorial anterior appendages. The hydrodynamic profile would allow fast swimming to pursue and capture prey. ...The morphology also suggests that anomalocaridids may have spent much time partly buried or camouflaged in the bottom sediment, with the stalked eyes protruding over the bottom and scanning the surroundings for swimming prey.... Several features indicate affinities of the group to accepted arthropods: the presence of a tough exoskeleton, growth by molting, true segmentation, comb-like gills, and pivot joints in the appendages.”

 

Derek Briggs, at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, who helped piece together the history of the anomalocaridids, says, “We do not consider it an arthropod, but the representative of a hitherto unknown phylum.” In his book Wonderful Life, Stephen J. Gould (the Harvard zoology professor and author who died in 2002) said anomalocaris means “odd-shrimp”. Shrimp News contacted Gould for more information. Gould responded: “Anomalocaris has shrimp in its etymology, but is not technically a crustacean by genealogy. This animal from the Burgess Shale is the largest creature from this early period in life’s multicellular history. We cannot place it in any modern phylum, but it is clearly related to arthropods.”

 

On July 24, 2001, Henry Fountain, editor of the Observatory column in the Science Section of The New York Times, reported: “The 511-million-year-old remains of a crustacean have been found in England. They are the oldest crustaceans ever found. Researchers from the University of Leicester, the British Geological Survey and the University of Ulm in Germany found the fossils in limestone near Wales. The organism is about half a millimeter long, but its anatomy, including softer tissues, is preserved in great detail. It has a shell, antenna and appendages typical of crustaceans. The discovery was reported in the journal Science.”

 

In the Cambrian Period, one of the mightiest predators cruising the primeval oceans was a critter about the size of a lobster named Hurdia victoria.  But even though it measured only about one-and-a-half-feet long, it had enough natural weaponry to dominate the marine food chain about 505 million years ago.  An ancestor of arthropods such as insects, spiders and crustaceans, Hurdia sported stalked eyes like a shrimp, a circular jaw lined with fearsome teeth, and a bizarre, oversized head.  Such shells or carapaces normally protect soft parts of the body, as seen in modern crabs and shrimp.  But this structure in Hurdia is empty and does not cover or protect the rest of the body.The Hurdia fossil also reveals details of the gills associated with the body, some of the best preserved in the fossil record.  Most of the body is covered with gills, which were probably necessary to provide oxygen to such a large, actively swimming animal.

 

 

Bait

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The September 15, 2000, edition of The New York Times contained a review of Bait, a comic, action-adventure, crime movie—which mentions shrimp. Stephen Holden’s review, From Prawns to a Pawn, A Thief’s Bumbling Journey, says:

 

“One of the running jokes (or what passes for a joke) in the numbingly incoherent comic action thriller Bait has to do with the distinction between prawns and shrimp. You see, when Alvin Sanders (Jamie Foxx), a paroled thief, and a partner are caught red-handed stealing $2,000 worth of prawns from a Brooklyn warehouse, everyone, including the police, insists on calling them shrimp.”

 

“Alvin is simply beside himself that people can’t get the difference straight and points out more than once that prawns are larger than shrimp. But then, though Alvin may know his way around a fish store, he isn’t the brightest light on the planet. While he is fiercely denying any involvement in the robbery, an interrogating officer reaches behind his ear, and what does he find tucked there? Why, a stray shrimp (oops, prawn) of course [actually, a giant tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon, raw, medium-to-large, shell-on tail]. At that moment the jig is up.”

 

“The difference between prawns and shrimp, incidentally, has no relevance whatsoever to Bait beyond providing some tedious, high-pitched verbal filler for its motor-mouthed star.”

 

The best thing about Bait is the above review, which, incidentally, continues on for six more paragraphs without saying anything nice about the film. Don’t waste your money on Bait at a theater, I’ll let you know when it comes out in video and point you in the direction of the shrimp/prawn jokes.

 

Stephen Holden concludes his review of Bait with: “The result is an odoriferous helping of cinematic seafood whose pungency suggests that it has been sitting on the kitchen counter for weeks.”

 

Bait hit the video stores in January 2001. Right at the beginning, it contains some interesting shrimp chatter:

 

Alvin Sanders (a small-time crook played by Jamie Foxx): “All we got to do is go over there and knock this thing off [a seafood distributor]. We’ll get a couple of grand. I’ve been casing this joint for months, baby. Look at that!”

 

Stevie Sanders (Alvin’s brother, looking at a photograph): “Shrimp! You on parole and you out here trying to go back for stealing some shrimp.”

 

Alvin Sanders: “Not shrimps baby! Prawns!”

 

Stevie Sanders: “What the fuck is a prawn?”

 

Alvin Sanders: “I’ll tell you what a prawn is. A prawn is bigger than a shrimp. It’s more like a jumbo shrimp cocktail, right. The prawns come out and they are real big, like they’ve been working out in the back, like they’re on steroids or something. That’s prawns. A prawn, that’s like five or six shrimp.”

 

Stevie Sanders: “Yeah right, I’m going back to the truck.”

 

Editorial Note: Shortly after the above scene, during Alvin’s arrest, a police officer holds up a head-off, shell-on tail. It appears on screen for about a second. When I first saw the movie in a theater, I was convinced that it was a monodon tail; after looking at it several times on the video, I think it might have been a Macrobrachium rosenbergii tail. Check it out. Let me know what you think.

 

Source: Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, Unpated March 23, 2017.

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