How To Differentiate Between Prawn, Shrimp and Crayfish

How To Differentiate Between Prawn, Shrimp, and Crayfish. Please watch >>>>

Prawns, shrimps, and crayfish, and are all members of the crustacean family of aquatic animals. Despite their differences, they are sometimes confused because of their similar appearance. What distinguishes prawns, shrimps, and crawfish from one another, then?

How to Differentiate Between Crayfish, Prawn, and Shrimp
How to Differentiate Between Crayfish, Prawn, and Shrimp

We’ll explain all that in the paragraphs that follow.

Shrimp and Crayfish (What are Prawns) ~ An Overview?

The term “prawn” refers to a wide variety of edible small aquatic crustaceans that have an exoskeleton and ten legs (members of the order decapods).

In the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Commonwealth countries, large swimming crustaceans or shrimp—especially those of commercial significance in the fishing industry—are referred to as prawns.

The name is less common in North America, where it usually refers to freshwater shrimp. The scientific status of the names shrimp and prawn is questionable. The terms have become nearly synonymous in modern usage as their meanings have evolved.


Shrimps are aquatic crustaceans that are characterized by long, slender, muscular abdomens and long antennae. Unlike crabs and lobsters, shrimp are found in saltwater and are often smaller than the other two crustaceans. They also have swimmerets, or pleopods, that are fully grown.

Shrimp and prawns may sound similar, but they are two different species. Shrimp have lamellar gills, which are side plates that cover portions of their bodies on the front and back, and they transport their eggs outside of their bodies under their tails.

This makes their distinctive slant more obvious, which is an additional quality to seek out when shopping for seafood.


Crayfish have an elongated first pair of claws that mimic lobster claws. The crayfish’s tail is the edible part since it has the most meat in it. Because of their tough exoskeleton to peel, crawfish are less popular than shrimp and prawns, even if other sections are edible.

It has no fishy scent and a very rich, almost buttery taste. They taste sweet as well. Because they live in freshwater, they have a characteristic expressive mineral odor that makes them much more recognizable.

The crayfish’s tail is the edible part since it has the most meat in it. Because of their tough exoskeleton to peel, crayfish are less popular than shrimp and prawns, even if other sections are edible.

Crawfish vs. crayfish

There is no difference between crawfish, crayfish, or crawdads. The phrase you use may vary greatly depending on where you live.

While Northerners are more likely to say crayfish, Louisianans are more likely to say crawfish. The phrase “crawdad” is widely used by people from the West Coast or Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

Prawn Vs. Shrimp vs. Crawfish ~ Crayfish vs. Prawn vs. Shrimp

Even though they look a lot alike, crabs, shrimp, and crawfish are all different kinds of seafood. Despite their similarities, there are a few significant differences between them that are worth mentioning.

Appearance: Prawns and shrimp are very similar. They feature five pairs of legs, lengthy tails, and an exoskeleton, though not as robust as the crayfish’s. Prawns have three pairs of claws on their legs, but shrimp only have two pairs.

The best way to differentiate between shrimp and prawns is to look at their bodies. A crayfish can be best described as a little lobster. It has a robust exoskeleton, and claws, and is bigger than shrimp and prawns.

In comparison, shrimp are much more bent than prawns. All three are often tiny and eaten as part of a larger meal or as finger snacks. Though it wouldn’t be easy to tell them apart based just on size, prawns are frequently larger than shrimp.

Taste: In terms of taste, crayfish and shrimp differ from one another. The former has a somewhat sweeter, slightly saltier, and slightly mineral flavor. While prawns and shrimp taste very similar, prawns have a somewhat higher flesh content and sweetness.

Ecosystem: Crayfish mostly live in aquatic settings such as lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers. Still, some species of crawfish inhabit seawater.

They live in the shallow area of the water’s surface as well as the occasionally occurring ground holes along the water’s edge. To protect themselves from predators, they dig their tunnels and fill them with sand or mud.

Nutritional Value: Prawns are one of the best food sources of selenium, along with high quantities of copper, zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium.

However, shrimp are incredibly nutrient-dense meals since they include zinc, salt, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Crayfish are rich in calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, iron, and B vitamins.

Uses: Prawns and shrimp are commonly served as finger snacks or in seafood drinks during cocktail parties. The most often consumed preparations of crawfish include crayfish pie, etouffee, and boil in Louisiana.

They are more often used as an ingredient in another dish than as crayfish on their own, even if they can occasionally be found in seafood cocktails with other shellfish.

Prawn and crayfish recipes

Some tasty prawn and crayfish dishes are:

  • Crayfish and Prawn Samoosas with Ruby Grapefruit, Pawpaw
  • Creamy Crayfish and prawn curry
  • Crispy Kurao Fish with Prawn and Crayfish Topping Recipe
  • Prawn and crayfish cocktail salad
  • Prawn (or Crayfish) Brioche with Chilli Lime
  • Skagenröra Norwegian prawn and crayfish salad recipe.

Shrimp vs. prawn vs. lobster vs. crayfish

All crustaceans, including prawns, lobsters, shrimp, and crayfish, have segmented bodies, jointed legs, and a hard exoskeleton.

They are distinct species, though, and they usually inhabit separate environments. Some of their differences are listed below:

Prawns and shrimp are generally considered to have a stronger, brinier flavor; yet, lobster and crayfish can have a sweeter, more delicate texture.

The crayfish resembles smaller lobsters while lobsters are usually found in saltwater habitats.

The claws of a lobster are proportionately larger than their bodies, making them larger than crayfish.

Shrimps are smaller than lobsters and are frequently utilized as food and are usually found in marine habitats.

In size and form, prawns resemble shrimp, although they inhabit freshwater habitats. They serve as a source of food as well.

Difference between prawn and shrimp

Things can get tricky because prawns and shrimps look so similar to each other. If you ask, somehow they can tell the difference, they’ll tell you that one is bigger than the other. Some of their differences are listed below:

Both prawns and shrimps are ten-legged crustaceans. Still, their legs are a little different from each other. Shrimps only have one set of legs with claws on the end, whereas prawns have three pairs.

When comparing shrimp of the same size, prawns usually have proportionally larger legs.

Prawns are larger but shrimps have more varieties.

Similarities between shrimp and crayfish

Shrimps and crayfish both have two pairs of antennae, the longer of the two. They have five walking leg pairs, the first two or three of which contain claws. The first pair of claws on crayfish is expanded and resembles lobster claws.

The color of crayfish can also be used to distinguish them from shrimp.

Difference between crayfish and shrimp taste

Both marine animals have a thick texture and a subtle, non-fishy flavor. They’re a favorite among seafood enthusiasts because of their meatier texture. Because of how unique their flavors are from other seafood, crawfish, and shrimp are included in the same group.

The meat of shrimp is extremely fibrous but delicate, and it has a delicious, slightly salty flavor while the taste of crayfish is sweet with faint undertones of minerals.

In terms of taste, crayfish is similar to a mixture of lobster, shrimp, and crab. Therefore, even though crayfish and shrimp have a similar flavor profile, crayfish have a distinct flavor.

While shrimp are saltwater decapods with larger tails, crawfish are freshwater crustaceans. Despite their diminutive size, crawfish have a variety of tasty and edible body parts.

Similar to lobsters, crawfish have extremely soft meat that crumbles off their claws! Shrimp, on the other hand, lack large front claws. Their meat is also solid with a hint of chewiness.

Crawfish vs. shrimp allergy

Do shrimp and crawfish have the same allergy?

As crayfish are a kind of shellfish, an allergy to them suggests that other crustaceans are probably causing the problem. The seafood that falls under the category of crustaceans includes prawns, lobster, crab, barnacles, and krill.

How to Differentiate Between Crayfish, Prawn, and Shrimp
How to Differentiate Between Crayfish, Prawn, and Shrimp

The Bottom Line

Prawns, Shrimp, crawfish, and are renowned for their superior quality and nutrient content. They are also a delight for those who enjoy seafood.

Because they are sophisticated and elegant, shrimp and prawns are a great option for seafood cocktails at expensive gatherings.

Crayfish tastes great added to a seafood cocktail or simmered in a pot.

Declaring one to be superior to the other would be unfair to the other two, as each has merit and, in the right combinations, maybe a real delight.


What is the difference between shrimp and crayfish?

The biggest differences between crawfish and shrimp are in their size, morphology, and type of water that they inhabit.

Compared to shrimp, crawfish are larger, and have long, thin pincers whereas shrimp do not, and only inhabit freshwater; shrimp can live in both fresh and saltwater.

How can you tell the difference between shrimp and prawns?

Since their bodies are covered in a membrane that separates each section of their accordion-like shell, shrimp are incredibly flexible and pliable.

Although each section of a prawn’s shell overlaps the one below it, their bodies are stiffer and move less.

How do you identify prawns?

Given that prawns have claws on three of their legs; it’s simpler to recognize them as unpeeled. A prawn’s body has very little bend, which aids in its identification

What is the difference between prawns’ shrimp and lobster?

Shrimps are the smallest, followed in size by prawns and lobster, which is the largest. Lobsters can only survive in brackish or saltwater; shrimp can only survive in freshwater.

Prawns can live in both fresh and saltwater. While lobsters are crawling or walking crustaceans, shrimp and prawns are swimmers.

Is Nigerian crayfish shrimp?

The crayfish we have in Nigeria are more like shrimp, in my opinion, based on the traits of shrimps.

Thus, it is acceptable to refer to crayfish as dried shrimp. They can be mistaken for prawns and range in size from little to huge. Ideal for every African meal!

Does crayfish taste like prawns?

The meat of crayfish tails is tender, and sweet, and has a texture similar to that of prawns. Due to its resemblance to prawns, it is frequently used in salads and pasta dishes as a substitute for prawns.

What are the characteristics of prawns and shrimp?

Prawns are larger and have larger legs with claws on three pairs. They have branching gills.

Shrimp are smaller, have shorter legs, and have claws only on two pairs. Their gills are lamellar, i.e., plate-like.

Which is bigger shrimp or prawn?

Shrimp are often smaller than prawns. However, keep in mind that there may be giant shrimp that are larger than a regular prawn, so don’t rely solely on this indicator to distinguish between the two.

Additionally, one cannot distinguish between the two crabs by taste.

Are prawns pink or grey?

They are blue-grey or nearly translucent when uncooked, depending on the size of the variety.

The juicy, tasty flesh turns white with a pink tinge when cooked, while the shells turn pink. Cooking for a short time is crucial to prevent tough meat.

What are the 5 characteristics of prawn?

Prawns and shrimps

The fan-shaped tail of shrimp and prawns is known as a telson. They navigate through the water by using their tails.

There are five sets of legs on a prawn.

Prawns and shrimps have extremely long antennas.

The eyes of prawns and shrimps are fully formed.

What color are prawns in the sea?

Crabs and prawns typically have dull shells that are either brown, olive-blue, grey, or muddy while they are in the wild and roaming freely on the ocean floor.

Crustaceans’ darker color helps them elude predators. It makes it more difficult for predators to spot them if their bodies blend in with their surroundings.

Which color prawn is best?

The pink prawn is a year-round catch that is particularly well-liked for its versatility in sauce combinations.

They have a mild flavor profile, are sweet and soft, and are low in saturated fat. They are also a rich source of protein.

Are all shrimp called prawns?

True prawns and shrimp are generally referred to as “prawns” in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. Larger species or those caught in freshwater are typically referred to as “prawns,” while “shrimp” is used far more commonly in North America.

Are prawns freshwater or seawater?

The species of shrimp you uncover will determine whether they live in freshwater, saltwater, or even both warm and cold climates.

The majority of prawns are found in freshwater, while some species can occasionally be found in mildly salted water. Some of them live in cold water in the Northern Hemisphere, even though they prefer warm water.

What’s the difference between a crayfish and a crawfish?

The animal known as crawdads, crayfish, and crawfish is the same. The phrase you use may vary greatly depending on where you live. While Northerners are more likely to say crayfish, Louisianans are more likely to say crawfish.

The phrase “crawdad” is widely used by people from the West Coast or Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

Where is shrimp found in Nigeria?

Given the number of coastal and mangrove areas in the Niger Delta, Nigeria is fortunate to have an abundance of shrimp.

Do crayfish and shrimp taste the same?

Crayfish has a flavor that is somewhat salty, a little bit sweet, and has a bit of a mineral flavor to it. As a result, many people compare the flavor of crawfish to a combination of shrimp and crab.

Can Muslims eat crayfish?

It is permissible for us to consume any type of fish with scales and prawns when it comes to seafood. Other marine life is prohibited.

Crayfish are not exempted from the crustacean ban like prawns (shrimp) and thus are not edible. Allah is the wisest.

Can I use shrimp instead of crayfish?

Shrimp make an excellent and flawless replacement for crawfish. It has a comparable taste and texture and is still just as tasty.

Why shrimp are called prawns?

It should first be established that shrimp and prawns are not the same thing. While both are members of the Decapod crustacean family of marine animals, different species of shrimp are classified under the Pleocyemata suborder, whilst prawns are classified under the Dendrobranchiata suborder.

What is the color difference between shrimp and prawns?

Both prawns and shrimp have dull colors, which can range from brown to bluish to pink to gray. Cooking turns shrimp and prawns orange in hue.

What is the common name for shrimp?

The terms “prawn” and “shrimp” are not scientific names; they are popular names. These are slang or colloquial terminology that doesn’t have the official meaning that scientific terms do.

What’s more expensive prawn or shrimp?

The larger size and superior flavor and texture of prawns over shrimp account for their frequently greater cost.

How long does it take to boil prawns?

Remove the intestinal tracts from the prawns but leave their heads on.

After bringing a big pan of salted water to a gentle boil, add the prawns and simmer for three to four minutes, or until they turn a darker shade of pink. After removing from the water, serve.

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