Common Prawn

Palaemon serratus, traditionally referred to as the Common Prawn, is a species of shrimp located in the Atlantic Ocean from Denmark to Mauritania, and in the Mediterranean and Black Seas.

The Common Prawn dwells in groups of about forty in rocky crevices at depths of up to 130 feet. The lifespan for these crustaceans is 3 to 5 years. Population of the species fluctuates through the seasons, but has a pronounced peak in the autumn. Females mature at a quicker rate than males. The Common Prawn is prey to many species of fish including Mullidae, Moronidae, Sparidae, and Batradchoididae.

The most distinguishing trait of the Common Prawn is the rostrum, which is curves upwards and splits into two parts at the tip, with 6 to 7 teeth along its upper edge and 4 to 5 teeth on the lower edge. It is more common to see curved rostrum in other species with teeth on the backside. The Common Prawn is considered the largest of the native shrimps and prawns around the British Isles, usually measuring about 4 inches in length. It is pinkish brown in color with reddish patterns.

Detailed studies have been conducted to learn more about the hearing capacities of the Common Prawn. Results show it is sensitive to frequencies between 100 Hz and 3 kHz, and it possesses keenness much like that of generalist fish. Although the hearing scale in the common prawn varies as it matures, all are able to hear tones at 500 Hz.

On the west coast of Great Britain, particularly in West Wales, but extending far north to areas of Scotland, there is a small commercial fishery established to produce common prawn. Ireland began participating in production of common prawn in the 1970s. A record catch of 548 tons was reported in 1999. Four counties of Ireland account for 90% of that catch – Galway, Kerry, Cork and Waterford. Measures are being discussed to limit minimum landing size due to overfishing in these regions.

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