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Increase In Giant Tiger Prawn Sightings Off Jax Coast

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Sightings of giant tiger prawn are growing more numerous along the coastlines of Duval and St. Johns Counties.

The prawns, also known as Black or Asian Tiger Shrimp, can grow longer than a foot and weigh as much as a pound-and-a-half.

The fact that the shrimp aren’t native to the U.S. concerns ecologists, according to Carli Segelson with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

“We’re not really sure of the impact of these animals. Every animal has its place and by introducing another species you run the risk of out-competing the animals that are there naturally," she said.

Segelson says tiger shrimp were grown on farms until about 25 years ago when they got loose in the environment.

The giant prawns are among a growing number of invasive species that Florida scientists are currently monitoring including the lionfish, the Burmese Python and the Tegu, an ill-tempered lizard that’s taken up residence in parts of central and south Florida.

If you see any non-native species, you can call the Florida Invasive Species Partnership's hotline at 1-888-IVEGOT1 (1-888-483-4681) or use their free mobile phone app.

You can follow Cyd on Twitter @cydwjctnews.