Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences

Feeding behaviour of adult tiger prawns, Penaeus esculentus, under laboratory conditions

BJ Hill and TJ Wassenberg

Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 38(1) 183 - 190
Published: 1987


Adult tiger prawns, P. esculentus, when offered a choice of food, showed significant preferences. They preferred feeding on tissue from the prawn Metapenaeus bennettae to tissue from the bivalve Perna canaliculus but preferred P. canaliculus to the prawn Penaeus longistylus. When given a choice of two bivalves, they preferred Donax deltoides to Perna canaliculus. Prawns preferred fresh food to food that had been soaked for several hours. If food was given only at dusk, feeding occurred mainly in the first half of the night. If additional fresh food was given at midnight, then an equal amount of feeding occurred after midnight. The prawns spent short periods (mean 9.3 min) at the food. These were separated by non-feeding intervals with a mean length of 42 min. This behaviour was repeated about six times each night. Tiger prawns filled their foreguts to about 60% of capacity within 10 min of beginning feeding and could clear about 50% of the content in 30 min and nearly 55% in 60 min. Females and males spent the same amount of time feeding. When starved, P. esculentus emerged from the substrate for longer periods at night, moved around more, and emerged during the day.

© CSIRO 1987

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