• Dispersal;
  • microsatellite;
  • mitochondrial DNA;
  • Penaeus monodon;
  • South Pacific islands


The Black Tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) has a natural distribution range from East Africa to the South Pacific Islands. Although previous studies of Indo-Pacific P. monodon have found populations from the Indian Ocean and Australasia to differ genetically, their relatedness to South Pacific shrimp remains unknown. To address this, polymorphisms at eight shared microsatellite loci and haplotypes in a 418-bp mtDNA-CR (control region) sequence were examined across 682 P. monodon from locations spread widely across its natural range, including the South Pacific islands of Fiji, Palau, and Papua New Guinea (PNG). Observed microsatellite heterozygosities of 0.82–0.91, allele richness of 6.85–9.69, and significant mtDNA-CR haplotype variation indicated high levels of genetic diversity among the South Pacific shrimp. Analysis of microsatellite genotypes using a Bayesian STRUCTURE method segregated Indo-Pacific P. monodon into eight distinct clades, with Palau and PNG shrimp clustering among others from Southeast Asia and eastern Australia, respectively, and Fiji shrimp clustering as a distinct group. Phylogenetic analyses of mtDNA-CR haplotypes delineated shrimp into three groupings, with shrimp from Fiji again being distinct by sharing no haplotypes with other populations. Depending on regional location, the genetic structures and substructures identified from the genotyping and mtDNA-CR haplotype phylogeny could be explained by Metapopulation and/or Member–Vagrant type evolutionary processes. Neutrality tests of mutation-drift equilibrium and estimation of the time since population expansion supported a hypothesis that South Pacific P. monodon were colonized from Southeast Asia and eastern Australia during the Pleistocene period over 60,000 years ago when land bridges were more expansive and linked these regions more closely.