Alaska Species Explorer

Spot Prawn

Common Name: Spot Prawn, Spot Shrimp
Scientific Name: Pandalus platyceros
Size: Up to 10.5 inches (27 cm)

North Pacific Ocean from Sea of Japan to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands through SE Alaska to S. California


In coldwater reefs and rocky habitats to 460m (1510ft) deep to near the surface; more common 90m (300ft). 

Life History:

Eggs are carried on females’ abdomen during winter and hatch at depths greater than 150m (490ft) in late winter.  The larval shrimp, called nauplii, feed on zooplankton in the water column until they settle to the bottom.  They molt repeatedly throughout their life, growing larger with each molt.

Diet in the Wild:

Other shrimp, worms, sponges, small mollusks, carrion, plankton.  Spot shrimp and their relatives tend to forage at night and seek cover during the day.

Natural Predators: They are consumed by octopuses and many fish species.
Population Status:

Spot shrimp populations are considered stable in SE Alaska but they have been reduced in numbers in other Alaskan waters.  Commercial and sport harvests are now closely managed to conserve numbers.

Additional Information:

Pink shrimp, Pandalus eous, and sidestripe shrimp, Pandalopsis dispar, are in the same family as spot shrimp and are two other commercially valuable species. 

Fun Facts:
  • Spot shrimp are the largest shrimp in the North Pacific Ocean.
  • A spot shrimp begin life as a male and changes sex to become a female toward the end of its life.  It spawns once as a male and one or more times as a female.
  • Female spot shrimp, being older, are also much larger than the younger males.
Additional References: