Pink shrimp, like other members of the commercially important Penaeidae
, can be distinguished from other families of shrimp due to their antennae, which are longer than their body lengths, and by their first three pairs of walking legs, which are chelate (Amos and Amos 1997). The integument is thin and translucent. Overall body color is highly variable, but generally gray, bluish or red-brown. The sides of the animal are somewhat flattened. The carapace has a medial carina that extends nearly to posterior end of carapace and is bordered by a broad, rounded groove on either side. The rostrum is somewhat thicker than in Penaeus aztecus
and bears 6 - 7 sharp teeth on the dorsal surface. Ventrally, the rostrum may have 1- 3 teeth. The abdomen has 4 - 6 carinate segments, with the carina of the sixth segment ending in a spine. A dark, distinct spot on the pleural junction between the 3rd and 4th abdominal segments can be used to distinguish this species from other members of the genus. The tail is edged with blue coloration, and the telson has a deep medial groove. There is significant variation throughout the geographic range for a number of characteristics including the width of both the carina and its bordering groove; the number of external spines; and the number of pentasmal spines in males. The female thelycum is closed and is composed of 2 lateral plates and a medial protuberance. The male pentasma has distal ends that are curved and do not project free of the distolateral lobes on the ventral surface.