Freshwater prawns are a type of crustacean that is widely found in freshwater bodies across India. They are a popular delicacy and are widely consumed across the country. Apart from their food value, freshwater prawns also have an important role in the freshwater ecosystem as they are scavengers and help to maintain the ecological balance. In this article, we will take a closer look at the freshwater prawns of India.
|Scientific Name||Macrobrachium spp.|
|Colour||Varies from greenish-brown to greyish-brown|
|Found in which waters of India||Rivers, streams, and other freshwater bodies across India|
|States it’s eaten as food||Widely consumed in coastal states of India like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal|
|IUCN status||Varies depending on the species, but several species are listed as Data Deficient or Not Evaluated|
Freshwater prawns are typically small to medium-sized crustaceans that can grow up to 25 centimeters in length. They have a slender body that is covered with a hard exoskeleton. Their head is equipped with two pairs of antennae and a pair of large claws that they use for catching prey and defense. The prawns are typically reddish-brown in color and have a segmented body that is divided into a head, thorax, and abdomen.
Freshwater prawns are primarily found in freshwater bodies such as rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. They prefer clean water with good oxygen levels and are often found in the deeper parts of these bodies of water. Some of the common species of freshwater prawns found in India include Macrobrachium rosenbergii, Macrobrachium idae, and Macrobrachium malcolmsonii.
Freshwater prawns are omnivorous and feed on a variety of food including algae, aquatic plants, small fish, insects, and other invertebrates. They are opportunistic feeders and will eat anything that they can catch.
Species found in Indian waters – List
Macrobrachium rosenbergii: This is one of the largest freshwater prawn species found in India. It is also known as the giant freshwater prawn and can grow up to 25 centimeters in length. They are primarily found in the freshwater bodies of southern India, including the Godavari, Krishna, and Cauvery rivers.
Macrobrachium idae: This species of freshwater prawn is found in the freshwater bodies of India’s eastern coast, including the Mahanadi and Subarnarekha rivers. They are a popular food item and are often used in traditional Indian cuisine.
Macrobrachium malcolmsonii: This is a small species of freshwater prawn that is found in the freshwater bodies of northern India. They are primarily found in the Himalayan rivers and are an important food source for the local population.
Which parts of India it is eaten
Freshwater prawns are a popular food item in many parts of India, especially in the southern and eastern states. They are typically cooked in a variety of ways, including curries, stews, and fried dishes. They are also commonly used in traditional Indian cuisine and are an important ingredient in many dishes.
Importance in marine ecosystem
Freshwater prawns play an important role in the freshwater ecosystem as they are scavengers and help to maintain the ecological balance. They feed on decaying organic matter and help to break it down, which helps to improve water quality. They are also an important food source for many other species of fish and birds.
IUCN status of Indian species
The IUCN has not assessed the conservation status of the freshwater prawn species found in India. However, overfishing and habitat loss are major threats to the species, and steps need to be taken to ensure their long-term survival.