Shrimp Lifecycle

Mated Female

This mated female has sperm attached to her. When she's ready, she will release her eggs from her ovipore, and the eggs will become instantly fertilized and released into the water. This is called spawning. Spawned eggs look like thousands of tiny white specks.

lifecycle mated

Unhatched Eggs

Once eggs are spawned, it takes about 14 to 18 hours for them to hatch. You can see the nauplii growing inside of the egg in this picture. Once the eggs hatch, they will go through a series of larval stages before they become a full formed shrimp. These stages are called nauplii, zoea and mysis.

lifecycle eggs


After eggs hatch, the first larval stage the shrimp go through is "nauplii". This stage of development lasts for about 1 to 1 1/2 days.

lifecycle naupili


The second larval stage the shrimp go through is "zoea". This stage of development lasts for about 3 to 5 days. The larval shrimp begin to eat diatoms (algae) and newly hatched brine shrimp cysts (Artemia) as their food source. It is during this stage that the larval shrimp develop their eyes and extended body length.

lifecycle zoea


The third larval stage the shrimp go through is "mysis". This stage of development lasts for about 3 to 5 days as well. At this stage the larval shrimp begin to develop its pleopods, or swimmerettes.

lifecycle mysis


After completing the 3 stages of larval development, the animals are fully developed as a shrimp. They'll stay in the hatchery for about 2 more weeks, and once they reach about 1 cm long, they are transferred into juvenile ponds to be grown out to about 1 gram. While still in the hatchery, the post larval shrimp eat live baby brine shrimp—now that they're big enough to catch them! Once they move to outside ponds, they are switched to a commercial nursery diet.

lifecycle post larvae


Once the young shrimp grow to about 1 gram, they need a larger space to grow up in, so they are transferred to grow-out ponds. Shrimp are fed a pellet diet for this stage of their life. It usually takes about 7 to 8 months from the time the shrimp hatch to the time they are harvested and you can EAT them! The average harvested size ranges 21 to 30 grams.

shrimp in hand


Sometimes we allow the shrimp to grow to full size so they can breed and start the cycle over again. When the shrimp are about 9 to 14 months old, they are at their prime for breeding. They are fed a very special diet to ready them for fertilization, which includes frozen squid, frozen bloodworms and frozen brine shrimp (Artemia), as well as a specially formulated feed.

lifecycle broodstock