About River Prawns

Western School Prawn facts

  • Description – small (<190mm), uniform grey colour, large eyes, rostrum extended beyond eyes and long and flexible antennae
  • Distribution – Indo-Pacific from south-eastern Java, down the west coast of Australia but only exists in estuaries below the 31°S parallel in WA.
  • Habitat – sandy and muddy bottoms in rivers, estuaries and inshore coastal waters to 50m
  • Diet – (night feeder) on small invertebrates and detritus (decaying organic material)
  • Predators – black bream, mulloway, blowfish, jellyfish and humans
  • Lifespan – Western School Prawns live for two years and reach maturity in their first year
  • Western School Prawn fact sheet

Identifying prawns in the river

Feature Western School Prawn (WSP)
Metapenaeus dalli
King Prawn (KP)
Penaeus latisulcatus
  Western School Prawn King Prawn
Antennal filaments Comparatively long and visibly bifurcate Small, indistinct
The rostrum Pale and straight. No spines Ridges are dark brown. Visible spine at base of rostrum
Eyes Eyes stalks are small and eyes held close to the head. Eyes are rounded and dark in colour Eye stalks are long. Eyes are somewhat bean shape and appear compound  (ie: 'fly-like')
Legs Pale yellow-green Light blue