The growth of the shrimp industry and especially the growth of shrimp farming have necessitated research and understanding of the life cycle of shrimp. Universities as well as world trade and health organizations have initiated studies of the shrimp life cycle.
In the beginning of the shrimp life cycle, the female shrimp secretes fertilized eggs. In some species of shrimp the eggs sink to the bottom of the water. In other species the eggs are carried by the female shrimp in her leg hairs that have a sticky substance designed for securing the eggs to her body. Once the eggs hatch they are called nauplius. Nauplius cannot swim and float in the water while developing into protozoea. Protozoea shrimp have begun the development of their abdomens and mouths so that they can feed and grow. Because shrimp also use their abdominal muscles to move through the waters they inhabit, this is a critical stage of development. Next is the mysis stage. During this stage shrimp begin to develop their legs and antennae. As shrimp grow out of the mysis stage and enter the postlarva stage they begin to walk and swim. It is at this stage that developing shrimp resemble small adult shrimp for the first time.
Postlarvae shrimp become juvenile shrimp. At this stage of development that shrimp begin to swim in the tides and to occupy the bottoms of marshes, river bottoms, oceans, etc. Sub-adult shrimp grow slower than juvenile shrimp. This is the last stage before shrimp reach adulthood. Shrimp develop their reproductive organs beginning in the sub-adult stage. The reproductive organs reach full maturity in the adult stage. Adult shrimp average a length of five to eight inches.