Body color of the white shrimp, Litopenaeus setiferus, is a bluish
white overall, speckled with black spots, with pink-tinged sides. Antennae may reach
3 times body length. Chromatophores
in white shrimp are widely spaced, thus lending a lighter body color to this
species. Pleopods are often marked with dark red, while the margins of
the uropods of the tail are green. The carapace has a medial carina (keel-like ridge) that
is continuous with the rostrum at the anterior end of the animal.
The rostrum is elongate and slender, somewhat upcurved, with 5 – 11 (usually
9) sharp teeth on the dorsal surface, and 2 teeth on the ventral edge. The
has a deep medial groove along its length. Large
males measure approximately 7 inches, while females grow slightly larger, to
about 8 inches.
The white shrimp commonly inhabits
estuaries and the inner littoral zone along coasts to depths of approximately
100 feet. In the Gulf of Mexico, L. setiferus can be found in depths as great as
260 feet; however, they are most abundant in brackish wetlands with connections to
shallow, coastal areas. Juveniles prefer muddy
substrata rich in loose peat and sandy mud. Ideal nursery grounds for juvenile white shrimp are muddy bottom
areas in waters with low to moderate salinity.
white shrimp has no bordering groove along its carina,
unlike its close relatives the brown shrimp and the pink shrimp.
White shrimp are known from Fire Island, New York
south to St. Lucie Inlet, Florida. The range then extends around the Florida
Peninsula into the Gulf of Mexico from the Ochlocknee River in northwest Florida
to Campeche, Mexico. White shrimp are distributed throughout the Indian
River Lagoon and along the east central Florida coast.
* Formerly Penaeus setiferus.
The white shrimp, Litopenaeus setiferus.
Photo courtesy of South Florida Water Management District.