Juvenile P. esculentus live in seagrass beds, and reach sexual maturity at a carapace length of around 32 millimetres (1.3 in). Adults grow up to 155 millimetres (6.1 in) long, and resemble Penaeus monodon, albeit smaller and browner. They live offshore at depths of up to 200 metres (660 ft).
P. esculentus appears to be endemic to Australian waters, being found in warm waters from central New South Wales (near Sydney) to Shark Bay, Western Australia, chiefly at depths of 16–22 metres (52–72 ft). There is little population structure in the species, with only slight differentiation between regions east and west of the Pleistocene land bridge between Australia and New Guinea.
Fisheries and aquaculture
Around 500 tonnes (490 long tons; 550 short tons) of brown tiger prawns are caught each year. Fisheries in Torres Strait are worth around A$24 million per year. It is closely related to Penaeus monodon, with which it can hybridise. It has the potential to be used in aquaculture (shrimp farming) since, although it grows less rapidly than P. monodon, it commands higher prices.
William Aitcheson Haswell arrived in Australia in 1878, and began working in a marine zoology laboratory at Watsons Bay. In 1879, he described Penaeus esculentus in a paper in the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, basing his description on material in the Macleay Museum which had come from Port Jackson and Port Darwin, and noting that P. esculentus is "the common edible prawn of Sydney, and Newcastle, etc.".
- "Penaeus esculentus Haswell, 1879". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
- Lipke B. Holthuis (1980). "Penaeus (Penaeus) esculentus Haswell, 1879". FAO species catalogue. Vol. 1. Shrimps and prawns of the world (PDF). Food and Agriculture Organization. ISBN 92-5-100896-5.
- W. Dall (1990). The biology of the Penaeidae. Advances in marine biology. Academic Press. p. 489. ISBN 978-0-12-026127-7.
- P. J. Crocos. "Reproductive dynamics of the tiger prawn Penaeus esculentus, and a comparison with P. semisulcatus, in the north-western Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia". Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 38 (1): 91–102. doi:10.1071/MF9870091.
- "Penaeus esculentus, brown tiger prawn". SeaLifeBase. 25 February 2009.
- "Farmed species". Shrimp News International. Archived from the original on 25 June 2008. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
- "Species Penaeus (Penaeus) esculentus Haswell, 1879". Australian Faunal Directory. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. 21 October 2008. Archived from the original on 30 December 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
- "Brown Tiger Prawn (Penaeus esculentus)" (PDF). New South Wales Department of Primary Industries. 2008.[permanent dead link]
- Robert D. Ward; Jennifer R. Ovenden; Jennifer R. S. Meadows; Peter M. Grewe; Sigrid A. Lehnert (2006). "Population genetic structure of the brown tiger prawn, Penaeus esculentus, in tropical northern Australia". Marine Biology. 148 (3): 599–607. doi:10.1007/s00227-005-0099-x.
- Michael F. O'Neill & Clive T. Turnbull (2006). Stock assessment of the Torres Strait Tiger Prawn Fishery (Penaeus esculentus) (PDF). Queensland Department of Primary Industries. p. 83. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 February 2012.
- J. A. H. Benzie; M. Kenway; E. Ballment; S. Frusher; L. Trott (1995). "Interspecific hybridization of the tiger prawns Penaeus monodon and Penaeus esculentus". Aquaculture. 133 (2): 103–111. doi:10.1016/0044-8486(95)00013-R.
- Sandy J. Keys, Peter J. Crocos & Oscar J. Cacho (2004). "Commercial grow-out performance and cost-benefit analysis for farm production of the brown tiger shrimp Penaeus esculentus". Aquaculture Economics & Management. 8 (5/6): 295–308. doi:10.1080/13657300409380371.
- William Aitcheson Haswell (1879). "On the Australian species of Penaeus, in the Macleay Museum, Sydney". Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales. 1. 4: 38–44.