In this post, we'll look at some shrimp facts, specifically 'white leg shrimp,' which one of the species of shrimp in Asia that we raise at RAS Aquaculture. White leg shrimp, despite being a small creature among other aquatic animals, has fascinating facts that many people are unaware of!
Fact #1, there are four famous types of shrimp in Asia- lobster, tiger prawn, Ming prawn or Chinese white shrimp, and white leg shrimp which is Vannamei. In RAS Aquaculture’s shrimp farm, we culture a species under the genus Penaeus called Litopenaeus Vannamei. It is also known as the Pacific White Shrimp or the White leg Shrimp. The name 'white leg shrimp' is because Vannamei shrimp is typically translucent-white with a bluish hue. The legs also often appear white. Hence, the name ‘white leg shrimp’!
White leg shrimp has many advantages, including ease of farming, consistent production, availability in high stocking density, and disease resistance. That’s why shrimp is one of the most important fishery products in the fisheries sector.
Fact #2, though Vannamei shrimp is quite popular in Asia, Vannamei are originally from Central and South America. Vannamei shrimp are native to the Eastern Pacific coast from Sonora, Mexico in the North, through Central and South America as far South as Tumbes in Peru, in areas where water temperatures are normally more than 20 degree Celsius throughout the year.
Fact #3! Male shrimp have petasma, while female shrimp have thelycum. We can identify a male shrimp by looking at the petasma located at the first pair of the swimming legs. Meanwhile, female shrimp do not have petasma, instead they have thelycum. We can see the petasma at the fifth pair of the pereopod.
The function of petasma has been debated in studies, but it is believed that the male uses it to hook onto the female thelycum and inject sperm mass. Thus, thelycum may act as a temporary attachment and storage site for the sperm mass between mating and spawning.
Fact #4, Vannamei can eat pellets. Different species of shrimp eat differently. Lobsters, for example, consume fresh food such as fish, worms, and mussels, whereas adult tiger prawns consume algal and plant material. Vannamei shrimp, for example, can consume pellets. It is unusual to see people feed Vannamei shrimp with other things. For the shrimp's performance, RAS Aquaculture feeds them pellets containing prebiotics, feed enzymes, and astaxanthin.
Fact #5! Shrimp do not sleep. Even if they do, it is very little. Shrimp don’t have a developed brain. Though, they have a nodocord structure that acts as a central nervous system. When the fish are less active at night or after dark in the tank, the shrimp are less afraid to venture out. When there are only shrimp in a tank, however, they are active all day because they feel safe. Nevertheless, shrimp do rest. We can know they are resting from the minimal movement in the behavioural sense.
Last but not least, fact #6! A lot of people out there are wondering where they can get baby shrimp. In most cases, small farmers do not need to do a hatchery in order to obtain baby shrimp. Because shrimp farming is a mature industry in the aquaculture sector, baby shrimp are accessible at any time.
As a matter of fact, shrimp aquaculture is becoming increasingly important in Malaysian agriculture, Asia's agriculture rather, particularly in terms of economic growth. White shrimp aquaculture is not only the most important component of brackish water shrimp aquaculture, but it is also the largest contributor to Malaysian shrimp aquaculture.