Brown Shrimp

Farfantepenaus aztecus

About This Animal

SIZE: Up to 7 inches long

RANGE: Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to the Florida Keys and Gulf of Mexico to the Yucatan peninsula

HABITAT: Shallow water to feed at night, but burrow in the sand and mud during the day

DIET: As larvae and juveniles they eat plankton, but adults will eat plants, small fish and invertebrates and organic debris

ON EXHIBIT: Seahorse Gallery in River Journey

Brown shrimp breed in the winter and usually harvested in May, June and July. Females lay between 500,000 and one million eggs, and although short-lived, usually less than 2 years, they grow quickly reaching reproductive size within a few months.

The majority, over 90%, of the brown shrimp harvested in the United States come from the Gulf of Mexico, mainly Louisiana.  Strict fishing guidelines ensure that trawlers have BRDs (bycatch reduction devices) that allow fish to escape, but retain shrimp.  TeDs (turtle exclusion devices) have been in place for decades and have been integral in sea turtle conservation efforts.  

In addition to being an important commercial species, brown shrimp are integral to the food web.  Fish, turtles and many other animals rely on brown shrimp in varying life stages as large components of their diet.

COOKING TIP
If you like a stronger, more forward shrimp flavor, brown shrimp is for you. They tend to be smaller than white shrimp and have a firmer texture. This shrimp is great for stuffing, étouffée, and thick stews. Their season is April through February.