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Specific Names of the Atlantic American White Shrimp (Family Penaeidae)

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Penaeid shrimp are of special interest to zoologists for several reasons, one being the fact that they are unique among the decapod Crustacea in having a nauplius larval stage, which is otherwise found only in lower groups.

The shrimp catch of the south Atlantic and Gulf coasts in 1360 amounted to one-fifth of the total value of all fishery products of the United States (Power, 1961), and the shrimp fishery is the most valuable one in the country. The catch depends almost wholly upon three species, Penaeus aztecus Ives, P. duorarum Burkenroad and P. setiferus (Linnaeus) , according to current usage. Up to about fifteen years ago the whole fishery depended upon the latter species, the North American white

Because of their commercial importance, the penaeid shrimp are being studied increasingly in the Americas and other parts of the world. The literature, museum records and certain other information show that the name Penaeaeus setiferus has been misapplied for the past twenty-six years. The matter should be rectified now rather than later. The questions involved depend upon established rules of zoological nomenclature.

The following account will be easily understood if it is remembered that there are two species of Atlantic American white shrimp. This fact was ascertained by Burkenroad (1936) and prior to that time all workers assumed that there was only one species, which was referred to uniformly as Pelzaelcs setiferus (Linnaeus). The northern species has been recorded only from the continent of North America. The southern species has been recorded throughout much of the West Indies and the east coasts of Middle and South America to southern Brazil.

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