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Description:
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 sharp-tipped telson has a deep medial groove along its length.  Large males measure approximately 7 inches, while females grow slightly larger, to about 8 inches.

Habitat:
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.

Similar Species:
The white shrimp has no bordering groove along its carina, unlike its close relatives the brown shrimp and the pink shrimp.

Range:
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.