How Do Shrimp Reproduce?

Hakan Dahlstrom/CC-BY 2.0

Shrimp reproduce using sexual reproduction. After mating, female shrimp carry young in the form of eggs, which are carried in the underside of the abdomen. Reproduction generally takes place in the late fall, and females carry eggs until they hatch in early spring.

When the eggs are ready for release, females lay them in protected areas within their ocean environments. The young shrimp grow as larvae for approximately three months and begin to resemble adult shrimp in appearance and behavior shortly thereafter. All shrimp develop into males approximately 18 months after hatching and reproduce. They reproduce as males for a season or two before transforming into females. As females, they reproduce for another season or two, and generally don’t survive long after their final brood hatches. The size of their litter varies from year to year and depends on their physical condition and environmental factors such as food supplies.