Black Spermatophore Disease of Penaeid Shrimp


Category 3 (Host Not in Canada)

Common, generally accepted names of the organism or disease agent

Black spermatophore disease, Male reproductive tract degeneration.

Scientific name or taxonomic affiliation

Cause unknown, possibly not infectious.

Geographic distribution

Broodstock ponds and several facilities in Panama, Equador, Brazil and United States states of Texas and Florida.

Host species

Penaeus vannamei, Penaeus stylirostris, Penaeus setiferus.

Impact on the host

Vas deferens swells with seminal fluid and clogs as fluid thickens. Melanization occurs in advanced stages. Reproductive capacity impaired. Secondary bacterial infections may kill host.

Diagnostic techniques

Gross Observations: Swollen vas deferens. Melanization of spermatophores.

Wet Mounts: High proportion of ruptured and fragmented sperm cells.

Methods of control

No known treatment. Modes of infection and transmission not known. High tocopherol, low rancidity diet improves condition but does not prevent onset.


Chamberlain, G.W. and S.K. Johnson. 1988. Male reproductive tract degeneration of penaeid shrimp. In: C.J. Sindermann and D.V. Lightner. (eds.). Disease Diagnosis and Control in North American Marine Aquaculture. Developments in Aquaculture and Fisheries Science 17. Elsevier, Amsterdam, p. 128-133.

Chamberlain, G.W., S.K. Johnson and D.H. Lewis. 1983. Swelling and melanization of the male reproductive system of captive adult penaeid shrimp. Journal of the World Mariculture Society 14: 135­136.

Citation Information

Bower, S.M., McGladdery, S.E., Price, I.M. (1994): Synopsis of Infectious Diseases and Parasites of Commercially Exploited Shellfish: Black Spermatophore Disease of Penaeid Shrimp.

Date last revised: Fall 1994
Comments to Susan Bower

Date modified: