Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 July 2016 | 8(7): 8977–8988





An updated checklist of shrimps on the Indian coast


Vijay Kumar Deepak Samuel 1, Chemmencheri Ramakrishnan Sreeraj 2, Pandian Krishnan 3, Chermapandi Parthiban 4, Veeramuthu Sekar 5, Kanagaraj Chamundeeswari 6,

Titus Immanuel 7, Patro Shesdev 8, Ramachandran Purvaja 9 & Ramachandran Ramesh 10

1,2,3,4,5,6,8,9,10 National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Anna University Campus, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600025, India

7 Central Island Agricultural Research Institute, Post Box No: 181, Port Blair 744101, Andaman & Nicobar Island, India

1, 2, 3 (corresponding author),

4, 5, 6,

7, 8, 9,






doi: | ZooBank:



Editor: Stephen C. Weeks, The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. Date of publication: 26 July 2016 (online & print)

Manuscript details: Ms # 2628 | Received 18 March 2016 | Final received 06 July 2016 | Finally accepted 18 July 2016

Citation: Samuel, V.K.D., C.R. Sreeraj, P. Krishnan, C. Parthiban, V. Sekar, K. Chamundeeswari, T. Immanuel, P. Shesdev, R. Purvaja & R. Ramesh (2016). An updated checklist of shrimps on the Indian coast. Journal of Threatened Taxa 8(7): 89778988;

Copyright: © Samuel et al. 2016. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.

Funding: National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Chennai.

Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.

For Tamil abstract, Author Contribution & Author Details see end of this article.

Acknowledgements: The study was undertaken as a part of the research study on “Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Integration Network (CoMBINe)”, by the Coastal and Marine Resources Conservation Division, National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, Chennai. 




Abstract: This study reports an updated checklist of marine shrimps found along the Indian coast, including the Lakshadweep and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. A total of 364 species classified under 128 genera belonging to the order Decapoda is reported, thus adding 27 species to the existing checklist of 337 species. Marine shrimps are classified under two suborders of the order Decapoda, viz., Dendrobranchiata and Pleocyemata, and the two suborders account for 155 (42.6 %) and 209 species (57.4 %) of these 364 species, respectively. Pleocyemata is represented by three infraorders, viz., Axiidea, Caridea and Stenopodidea, while Caridea has a maximum of 199 reported species. Among the 12 superfamilies, Penaeoidea contributed to 38.13% (135 species) followed by Paleaemonidea with 18.07% (64 species). All other superfamilies were found to contribute less than 12%. Superfamilies, Bresilloidea and Psalidopodoidea had only single species representatives (0.28% each). The final list was compiled after reviewing all existing literature including monographs, catalogues, checklists, websites and fishery reports. The scientific names were validated with the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) database. A total of 25 issues were identified from the previous checklist out of which 19 species have been updated with the correct, accepted names and six species have been removed from the previous list.

Keywords: Checklist, Decapoda, Dendrobranchiata, India, Pleocyemata, shrimp.




Crustacean fishery as a whole accounts for more than 7% of the total produced through aquaculture. Crustaceans also play an important role in the economy by contributing more than 60% of the marine products exported (FAO 2014). Shrimp fishery is both an important food resource and a major economic resource for India. Shrimps account for 30% of the export of marine products in weight and 64% of the revenue generated from export of marine products (Anonymous 2014). Shrimps are the single most important marine food resource that is of the highest commercial value. There are several other shrimp species that may not be of commercial importance but form an integral part of the food chain of tropical marine ecosystems. Shrimps are a highly diverse group falling under the order Decapoda containing species that are widely distributed in marine, brackish, estuarine and freshwater realms. The majority of shrimp species occupy shallow or moderately deep sea water and are generally benthic, thriving on a variety of substrata such as rock, mud, peat, sand, fragments of shells or a mixture of these materials.

Studies of Decapoda date back to the end of the 19th century, when exploratory surveys were carried out by the Royal Indian Marine Survey Ship (RIMS) ‘Investigator’ (Wood-Mason & Alcock 1891; Alcock & Anderson 1894, 1899; Alcock 1901; Kemp 1925). The first comprehensive catalogue of Indian deep sea Crustacea (Decapoda, Macrura and Anomala) was compiled by Alcock (1901). This was followed by several works from extensive surveys of shrimp resources in different regions of the Indian coast (e.g., Kunju 1960; George 1966; Muthu & George 1971; Mohamed & Suseelan 1973; Silas & Muthu 1976; Thomas 1979; Rao 1984; Ravindranath 1989).

A total of 118 commercial shrimp species have been recorded by Suseelan (1996) that included 66 Penaeoid, 5 Sergestoid and 47 species of Caridean shrimps. Forty-six species of marine Palaemonid shrimps were recorded from the Indian seas by Jayachandran (2005) while, Karuppasamy et al. (2006) recorded 29 species of pelagic shrimps belonging to 19 genera and 11 families from the deep scattering layer (DSL) of the eastern Arabian Sea. Description of 84 Indian penaeid shrimps, along with their economic value and geographical distribution, were dealt with in detail by Kathirvel et al. (2007). Kurup et al. (2008) recorded 11 species of deep sea shrimps on the Kerala coast. A new gnathophyllid species was recorded from Lakshadweep waters by Prakash et al. (2011). Jayachandran (2010) listed 59 species of palaemonid shrimps with taxonomic status, state wise distribution and their conservation. Shanis et al. (2012) made a checklist of 24 pandalid species belonging to six genera from the Indian waters. Radhakrishnan et al. (2012) published an annotated checklist of the penaeoid, sergestoid, stenopodid and caridean shrimps of India. In their work, a total of 437 species were recorded out of which, 343 species were marine forms and 94 freshwater. This is the latest checklist available for the shrimps along the Indian coasts. Rajakumaran & Vaseeharan (2014) surveyed shrimp diversity and exploitation of family Penaeidae from the southeastern coast of India and listed 59 species.

A knowledge of biodiversity will immensely help in the management of marine ecosystems and its resources. Regularly updated checklists on regional biodiversity would effectively aid in formulating proper and efficient conservation plans which require frequent/regular surveys and timely publication updates. A recent and updated checklist of the shrimp fauna of the Indian waters is unavailable but is also most essential. The current work was carried out with an intention to produce a taxonomically verified checklist of the shrimps recorded along the Indian coast, which would be a base document for further studies.



The checklist was prepared based on the collection of information from available published/reported literature, such as research articles, monographs, manuals, books, species checklists and technical reports. The scientific names were validated with the WoRMS (World Register of Marine Species) database for taxonomic status (accepted/status unknown, emendations, synonyms, alternate representations, nomen nudum, nomen dubium etc.) and the checklist was updated with currently accepted and valid names.



A total of 364 species under 128 genera of shrimp (Fig. 1 & Table 1) are reported from the Indian coastal waters reviewing all previously published literature. Taxonomic hierarchy places species in this work under the order Decapoda that is divided into two suborders, namely Dendrobranchiata and Pleocyemata. Suborder Dendrobranchiata contains 155 species placed under two superfamilies, seven families and 41 genera contributing to 42.6% of the total 364 species. Suborder Pleocyemata contains 209 species included in three infraorders, 10 superfamilies, 22 families, three subfamilies and 87 genera with a contribution of 57.4% of the total 364 species. Family Penaeidae represents the greatest number of species, accounting for 85 species within 17 genera. This was followed by families Palaemonidae with 62 species under 24 genera, Pandalidae with 27 species under nine genera and Alpheidae with 23 species under four genera.



The diversity range of decapod crustaceans varies by spatial differences in environmental and oceanographic conditions, particularly by depth, bottom type and characteristics of the water masses (Abello et al. 1988). In India, shrimp species have been recorded from both shallow and deep waters.

The present work records a total of 364 species belonging to 128 genera after validating and updating data from earlier reports (Table 1). The highest contribution to species diversity was from the superfamily Penaeoidae (38.13%) containing five families and 135 species (Fig. 1). Within the family Penaeidae, four genera, viz., Fenneropenaeus, Litopenaeus, Marsupenaeus and Melicertus, have been synonymised with the currently accepted genus Penaeus (Fransen & De Grave 2015). Two species under the genera Parapenaeopsis, viz., P. hungerfordii and P. venusta, are accepted as Alcockpenaeopsis hungerfordii (Fransen 2015a) and Batepenaeopsis venusta (Fransen 2015b). The genus Plesiopenaeus is accepted as Cerataspis (Fransen 2015c) under the family Aristeidae. An addition of five species under two genera has been updated from the work of Shanis et al. (2012) which reported a total of 24 species under seven genera. Further, Thor maldivensis is a synonym of Thinora maldivensis (De Grave 2015) under the family Hippolytidae (Fransen 2015d). The work carried out by Radhakrishnan et al. (2012) has listed Notostomus sp. under the family Oploporidae, but in the present list the genus is placed in the family Acanthephyridae (Fransen 2015e). The work carried out by Radhakrishnan et al. (2012) reports 343 species of marine shrimps containing 322 accepted names and 21 species names with taxonomic issues. These issues were 15 synonyms, subsequently updated with accepted names and six species names were dropped from the list. Further, 16 species not included in the list by Radhakrishnan et al. (2012) were added, of which nine species were from the work of Mohamed (1969), one species from Devi (1980), one species from Kurup et al. (2008), and five species from Shanis et al. (2012). Works published later by Chakraborthy (2013) and Rajakumaran & Vaseeharan (2014) further added 11 (1+10) more species to the checklist (Table. 3).

A total of 27 species has been added to the checklist published in 2012 by Radhakrishnan et al. Altogether 25 issues were identified (all synonyms), out of which 19 species have been updated with the accepted names (Table 2) and six species dropped. After validation, 364 species have been reported in the present checklist (Table 1). Synonyms contributed to 5.2% of species names and the list of synonyms used by various authors is portrayed in Table 2. The work of Radhakrishnan et al. (2012) contained 21 issues whereas two issues were identified in Kasim (1969), namely Parapenaeopsis hungerfoldii (Alcockpaneopsis hungerfoldii - accepted name); Palaemon styliferus (Exopalaemon styliferus - accepted name). Two additional issues were identified in the work of Rajakumaran & Vaseeharan (2014): Parapenaeposis sinica (Kishinouyepenaeopsis amicus - accepted name); Parapenaeopsis venusta (Batepenaeopsis venusta - accepted name). Table 3 provides information on the number of species documented in each report, issues in each checklist, numbers of invalid species names that were dropped and revised and accepted names. The total numbers contributed finally after the process of taxonomic validation resulted in 364 species from Indian waters.

The constant updating of national and regional level species checklists is to suit the objective proposed by Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) to coordinate, consolidate and disseminate basic taxonomic and species information that is commonly required by a range of users”. The updated checklist for shrimps in India in this report is a product of rendering services for biodiversity, conservation and management approaches.




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Author Details: Vijay Kumar Deepak Samuel is a Scientist at National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. He is a taxonomist specializing on marine molluscs, crustaceans and minor phyla. He is the focal point of the Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Integration Network (CoMBINe) Project. Chemmencheri Ramakrishnan Sreeraj is a Scientist at NCSCM. His research interests are coral taxonomy and reef ecology. He is a co-investigator of CoMBINe project. Pandian Krishnan is Scientist in-charge of Coastal & Marine Resources Conservation Division at NCSCM and is the Principal Investigator of the CoMBINe Project. His research interests are marine ecology, biodiversity conservation and fisheries resource management. Chermapandi Parthiban, Veeramuthu Sekar and Kanagaraj Chamundeeswar are Research Fellows under the CoMBINe project and they specialize in the taxonomy of marine invertebrates. Titus Immanuel is a Project Associate under the project on “Marine biodiversity of Nicobar islands” at ICAR - Central Island Agricultural Research Institute, Port Blair, Andaman. His research interests are taxonomy of marine invertebrates. Patro Shesdev, a Scientist at NCSCM is a marine biologist with research interest in biodiversity and ecology of coastal ecosystems. Ramachandran Purvaja is the Division Chair of Coastal & Marine Resources Conservation Division at NCSCM and is the Coordinator of the CoMBINe Project. Her research interests include coastal zone management, marine ecology and bio-geochemistry. Ramachandran Ramesh is the Director of National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) and is an expert in Integrated Coastal Zone Management.

Author Contribution: VKDS, CRS and PK contributed in checklist verification, interpretation of results and preparing the manuscript. CP, VS and KC contributed in reference collection, preparing the checklist, validating the checklist with WoRMS database and in identifying the issues in the checklist. TI and PS assisted in collating the published literature and updating the checklist. RP and RR critically reviewed and finalized the manuscript.

Tamil abstract: