Top 6 Largest Shrimp Species in the World : Giants of the Ocean

Did you know that shrimps are considered the cockroaches of the sea? Despite their small size, shrimps play an important role in the marine ecosystem and can vary in size and habitat preferences. From the murky depths to sunlit shallow, let’s learn a thing or two about these creatures crawling on the ocean floor! Let’s dive in and take a closer look at some of the largest species of shrimp around the world. 

1. Giant Tiger Prawn

  • Weight: 320 grams 
  • Length: 33 cm 
  • Distinction: Black and white stripes across their back and tail

The Penaeus monodon, also known as Asian tiger shrimp or black tiger shrimp, is the largest shrimp species. Females are generally larger than males and may live longer. Their main diet consists of small crabs and shrimp. 

Native to the Indo-Pacific, they’re bottom-dwellers that thrive in tropical areas where the temperature ranges from 25°C to 34°C. They’re adaptable and easy to farm so you’ll be surprised to know that the giant tiger prawn is not the most farmed species of largest shrimp. It only comes second to the white leg shrimp! 

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2. Giant Freshwater Prawn

  • Weight: 250 grams 
  • Length: 32 cm
  • Characteristic: Amphidromous 
  • Distinction: Long blue or orange chelipeds

Also known as the giant river prawn, they live in shallow waters such as rivers, ponds, and streams. However, their eggs get washed downstream towards the sea. When they turn into juveniles, they crawl upstream to breed, and the cycle repeats. 

In contrast to the others, males are generally larger in this species reaching 32 cm, excluding their chelipeds or what they call “walking legs”. This species is without a doubt, one of the largest freshwater shrimp species.

3. California Spot Prawn

  • Weight: 120 grams
  • Length: 30 cm 
  • Characteristic: Protandric hermaphrodite
  • Distinction: Reddish with white stripes 

The Pandalus platyceros also called California spot prawn or Alaskan prawn is the largest prawn species in the North Pacific. They live in rocky habitats along the seafloor. But during nighttime, they migrate to shallow water to hunt prey and then return to deeper water at sunrise.

They’re protandric hermaphrodite and live up to 6 years. They spend their first 4 to 5 years as males that mate only once then change into females that can mate up to 2 times.

4. Eastern King Prawn

  • Weight: 50 grams
  • Length: 30 cm
  • Distinction: Translucent with a blue tail that has hints of red

The eastern king prawn is a large species of shrimp and is only found in Eastern Australia. Unlike other species, the females release their eggs into the open sea. After hatching they’ll migrate to lower estuaries where it’s warm and the salinity is just right. Once mature, they’ll migrate back to spawn and will not return.

5. Pink Shrimp

  • Length: 28 cm
  • Characteristic: Sequential hermaphrodite, benthopelagic
  • Distinction: Pink or reddish hue with toothed rostrum

This species has a life span of only 2 years. Since their life is shortlived, they mature quicker than other large shrimp species and they have a high spawning point to boot! About 500,000 to 1 million eggs get released and fertilized near the ocean floor, hence the title – annual crop.

6. Kuruma Prawn

  • Weight: 130 grams
  • Length: 27 cm
  • Characteristic: Gonochronic
  • Distinction: Brown bands across the back and pale yellow legs

Discovered in the Kuruma River in Japan, where its name came from, this species has a short life span of only 2 years. They inhabit bays, places with warm currents.

Like other shrimp species, the male transfers spermatophores to the female. The female then stores them in a special pouch under her belly. During the night, the spawning occurs. The female swims to deep-water areas releasing both the eggs and spermatophores. 

Exploring the world of these sea critters helps us gain a deeper appreciation for the diversity of life beneath the waves. I bet you didn’t know that some of these largest shrimp species even exist! The next time you encounter a shrimp scurrying along, remember that these creatures are far more than just roaches of the sea – they are fascinating and resilient, and most importantly, they play a vital role in the marine ecosystem.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the largest breed of shrimp?

The giant tiger prawn has gained popularity throughout the years and is considered the largest species of shrimp. It can potentially reach the length of a human forearm and can weigh more than 300 grams.

What is the largest shrimp ever caught?

As reported by UnderwaterTimes News, Edilberto Flechas – a Columbian biologist – bought what he claims was the largest shrimp ever for $800. 

According to him, “This is the biggest species ever known here or even in literature.” He further stated, “The size of this shrimp exceeds the average size. The average length is 21 centimeters and this one is 40 centimeters.”

The species was that of the black tiger shrimp, more commonly known as the giant tiger prawn. Despite a great number of offers, Flechas kept it for further study.

What is the bigger version of shrimp?

Prawns are deemed as the bigger version of shrimps. Although they have a lot of similarities, prawns tend to be larger compared to shrimps. They even have longer legs and claws on three pairs of them whilst shrimps only have it on two pairs of shorter legs. Plus, prawns are sweeter so not only are they bigger but better as well (tastewise)!

What country has the biggest shrimp?

The giant tiger prawn (widely considered the largest shrimp species) can grow up to 33 centimeters or 13 inches. It’s native to the Indo-Pacific Ocean and thrives from the coasts of Japan to Australia.

What’s bigger than jumbo shrimp?

First, let’s break down the shrimp sizes. According to The Kitchn, an expert and the owner of New York City’s Dorian’s Seafood Market – Dorian Mecir – explained that shrimps are categorized by weight. Meaning to say, you count how many pieces make up a pound.

Here’s a breakdown of the shrimp’s sizing system: 

  • Colossal Shrimp: 8-10 shrimps make a pound.
  • Jumbo Shrimp: 10-12 shrimps a pound.
  • Large Shrimp: 16-20 shrimps per pound.
  • Medium Shrimp: 21-25 shrimps a pound.
  • Small Shrimp: 26-30 shrimps make up a pound.

The colossal shrimp is the biggest variety among the rest where only 8 to 10 shrimps make a pound. They serve as a focal point in a dish, like in a shrimp cocktail.