What’s the Difference Between Shrimp and Prawns?

This submit initially appeared in an version of What’s the Distinction?, a weekly e-newsletter for the curious and confused by New York Metropolis author Brette Warshaw. Eater will likely be publishing all editions that parse food-related variations, although these hardly scratch the floor of the world’s (and the e-newsletter’s) curiosities: Signal as much as get What’s the Distinction? in your inbox or atone for the total archive.


What’s the distinction between…

Shrimp and Prawns?

There are few crustaceans as misunderstood because the shrimp and the prawn. Some folks suppose they’re the identical factor; others suppose they differ solely by dimension; others suppose they’re merely referred to as various things in numerous nations, or areas, or states. And but: all of those individuals are incorrect! Shrimp and prawns are fully completely different creatures. Sure, they’re each decapods — which implies they’ve exterior skeletons and 10 legs — however that’s the place the similarities finish. Shrimp belong to the sub-order Pleocyemata, and prawns belong to the sub-order Dendrobranchiata. Let’s discover what this distinction means, lets?

Gills: As you might keep in mind from ninth-grade biology, gills are structured in a approach that maximizes their floor space. Shrimp have plate-like gills, which encompass flat, layered preparations; prawns have branching gills, which is the place I’m assuming the “branchiata” a part of their title comes from.

Claws and pincers: Shrimp have claws on two pairs of their legs, and their entrance pincers are the biggest. Prawns have claws on three pairs of their legs, and their second pincers are bigger than their entrance ones.

Physique construction: Let’s say these decapods have 4 distinct areas of their physique: the top, the thorax (the realm proper behind the top), the stomach (the “torso”), and the tail. In prawns, the top overlaps with the thorax, which overlaps with the stomach — very like shingles on a roof. In shrimp, the thorax overlaps with each the top and the stomach, like a cummerbund.

Habitat: Prawns dwell in recent water, whereas shrimp can come from both recent water or salt water (although the vast majority of species come from salt water). Enjoyable reality: the colder the water the shrimp is from, the smaller the scale! (I all the time thought the tiny shrimp in Scandinavian-esque shrimp salads had been creepy, and I not do.)

Dimension: Typically talking, prawns are bigger than shrimp — although this could differ relying on the species.

Style: Anybody who tries to inform you that shrimp and prawns style completely different is incorrect. Certain, some prawns are sweeter than shrimp, and vice versa — however it’s actually depending on the species, slightly than the sub-orders as an entire.

• What’s the Distinction Between Shrimp and Prawns? [wtd]

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