The distribution, density and species composition of juvenile shrimps were studied in three mangrove zones of Pichavaram, situated on the southeast coast of India. Nine species of shrimps dominated with Metapenaeus monoceros, M. brevicornis and Penaeus indicus were recorded. This shrimp resource was higher in mangrove-lined waters than that in neritic waters. This field observation was experimentally proved using litter bags. The average catch around the litter bags was 0.80 individuals day−1 for Rhizophora leaves, 1.6 ind. day−1 for Avicennia leaves and 0.16 ind. day−1 in control. In general, abundance of juvenile shrimps was the highest around the leaves that were decomposed for 40 days and colonized with high counts of nitrogen-fixing azotobacters. Finally, a ‘vegetation trap’ technique using mangrove leaves has been proposed for efficient schooling of juvenile shrimps. There was about 3-fold increase in number of shrimp juveniles around the trap than at control waters.