How to Differentiate Between Shrimp, Crayfish and Prawn

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

It is important to understand the differences between shrimp, crawfish, and prawns as they are distinct seafood varieties that should be eaten in different ways.

People don’t give much thought to what people call them, and they don’t think it’s necessary to go above and beyond to find out. As they are all alike in appearance, they call each other by those names. Some just want to eat shrimp, regardless of whether they are referred to as prawns or not.

How to Differentiate Between Crayfish, Prawn, and Shrimp

How to Differentiate Between Crayfish, Prawn, and Shrimp

Crayfish and Prawn

Does crayfish taste like prawns?
Both prawns and crawfish are crustaceans; however, while prawns live in salt water and have branching gills, crawfish dwell in fresh water and have feather-like gills. A crawfish tastes more like a lobster in terms of flavor. Though smaller and sweeter than shrimp, prawns taste more like shrimp.

Prawn vs. Crawfish: Appearance

Prawns have a look similar to shrimp. They have ten legs and an exoskeleton. Crawfish resemble tiny lobsters in appearance. They even have tail segments and big claws.

Are prawns and shrimp the same thing? What’s the Difference Between Shrimp and Prawns?

Prawns and shrimp are very different animals. They have 10 legs and external skeletons, which makes them both decapods, but that’s about where the similarities end. Prawns are members of the sub-order Dendrobranchiata, while shrimp are members of the sub-order Pleocyemata.


While they have the same name, shrimp and prawns are not the same animal. Shrimp carry their eggs outside of their bodies under their tails, and they have lamellar gills, which are side plates that cover segments in front and behind.

Shrimps are crustaceans that swim and have long, slender, muscular abdomens and long antennae. Generally the smaller of the two crustaceans, shrimp are found in saltwater and have well-developed pleopods, or swimmerets, unlike crabs and lobsters.

A shrimp can be distinguished from other crustaceans by a few minor but distinct characteristics. The second segment of a shrimp’s shell overlaps the first and third segments, and they have claws on two of their legs.

This gives them a noticeable bent, which is another characteristic to look for when purchasing seafood.

Crayfish and Prawn ~ Crayfish

Crayfish (aka crawdads, crawfish, and mudbugs) are essentially small, freshwater lobsters. You’ll find them in fresh running water. They’re delicious and very mild. Crayfish taste extremely rich, almost buttery, and have no fishy smell.

They also have a sweet taste. They are considerably more identifiable due to their distinctive expressive mineral stench, which comes from living in freshwater. The first pair of claws on crayfish is expanded and resembles lobster claws.

Since it contains the majority of the meat, the tail of the crayfish is the edible portion. Though other parts are also edible, crawfish are less popular than shrimp and prawns because of their difficult-to-peel exoskeleton.

Crawfish vs. crayfish

It all boils down to what you were taught and how you identify these creatures. Northerners in North America typically refer to them as “crayfish.”

They’re referred to as “crawdads” by people on the West Coast and in certain regions of the Midwest, and “crawfish” by people in the South.

The alternative names for them are typically used as slang in particular areas. However, if you tour the world, it becomes even more complex. They go by the names “yabbies” or “kouras” in Australia and “freshwater lobsters” in Singapore.


Prawns have branching gills, and side plates that overlap tile-like from front to back, and carry their eggs inside their bodies near their tails.

But shrimp and prawns taste exactly alike.

Similarities between shrimp and crayfish

Shrimp and crayfish are not the same but they have some similarities. Below are some similarities between shrimp and crayfish:

  • The antennae of crayfish and shrimp are bipedal, with one pair being significantly longer than the other.
  • They have five walking leg pairs, the first two or three of which contain claws.
  • The color of crayfish can also be used to distinguish them from shrimp.

Differences between shrimp and prawns and crayfish

Both crayfish and prawns are found in water, but crayfish are found in freshwater, whereas prawns are found largely in saltwater. Almost all shrimp (and thus prawns) live in saltwater. However, some shrimp are found in freshwater, such as the big claw river shrimp.

Thanks to years of uncertainty and a dearth of scientific facts, shrimp and prawn are now used nearly interchangeably but there’s also a big distinction between shrimp and prawns. The differences between all three are listed below.

Prawn Vs. Shrimp vs. Crawfish

Despite their obvious similarities, prawns, shrimp, and crawfish are three distinct species of seafood. Despite being related, they differ from one another in a few important ways that are worth pointing out.

  • Appearance: The easiest way to characterize a crayfish is as a tiny lobster. It is larger than shrimp and prawns, with claws and a strong exoskeleton. Shrimp and prawns are remarkably similar. They both have long tails, five pairs of legs, and an exoskeleton—albeit not as strong as the crayfish’s. While shrimp only have claws on two of their legs, prawns have claws on three pairs. Shrimps and prawns can be distinguished from one another best by looking at their bodies. Prawns are not as bent as shrimp, which are bent considerably more. All three are often small and regarded as finger snacks or as a component of a larger meal. However, prawns are often larger than shrimp, even though it wouldn’t be simple to tell them apart based just on size.
  • Taste: The difference between crayfish and shrimp taste is that the taste of a crayfish can be described as having a touch of sweetness, a touch of saltiness, and a trace of minerals. While that shrimp and prawns are extremely similar prawns are a little bit sweeter and meatier.
  • Environment: Aquatic environments such as lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers are the main home of crayfish. However, certain crawfish species live in saltwater. Both the shallow part of the water’s surface and the infrequently occurring ground holes along the water’s edge are home to them. They excavate their burrows and cover them with sand or mud to ward off predators.
  • Nutritional Value: Crayfish, prawns, and shrimp are regarded as nutritious foods. They are high in protein, low in fat, and contain good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to having high levels of copper, zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium, prawns are also among the finest food sources of selenium. On the other hand, because they include zinc, salt, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus, shrimp are exceptionally nutrient-dense food. B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and calcium are all abundant in crawfish.
  • Uses: At cocktail parties, shrimp and prawns are frequently served as finger snacks or in seafood drinks. The most popular uses of crawfish are in Louisiana crayfish pie, crayfish etouffee, and crayfish boil.

Though they might be found in seafood cocktails with other seafood, their primary function is as a component to another dish rather than crawfish alone.

Although crayfish are also quite popular, their popularity isn’t as great as that of shrimp and prawns due to their stronger exoskeleton and the fact that the majority of their tail is edible.

Overall, all three of these seafood varieties are popular, well-liked, and offer a wide range of pairing possibilities and combination possibilities.

Crawfish vs. shrimp: allergy

Do shrimp and crawfish have the same allergy?

Individuals who are hypersensitive to shrimp typically exhibit severe reactions to other kinds of crustaceans.

High similarities of up to 98% were found for tropomyosin in many crustacean species, such as crawfish, crabs, and lobster. Individuals with crustacean allergies frequently experience reactions to mollusk species as well.

Prawn and crayfish recipes

Some interesting prawn and crayfish recipes include:

  • Prawn and crayfish cocktail salad
  • Skagenröra Norwegian prawn and crayfish salad recipe
  • Creamy Crayfish and prawn curry
  • Prawn (or Crayfish) Brioche with Chilli Lime
  • Crayfish and Prawn Samoosas with Ruby Grapefruit, Pawpaw
  • Crispy Kurao Fish with Prawn and Crayfish Topping Recipe
Shrimp Recipes include:
  • Garlic and Shrimp Stir-Fry
  • Garlic grilled shrimp skewers.
  • Honey Garlic Shrimp.
  • Old Bay Shrimp Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner.
  • Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil.
Difference between Prawn and Shrimp

Because prawns and shrimp seem so similar to one another things can become complicated. Some would tell you that one is larger than the other if you ask them how they can tell the difference. This isn’t correct at all.

  • Appearance: Prawns and shrimps are both ten-legged crustaceans. Their legs, however, differ slightly from one another. While prawns have three pairs of legs with claws, shrimp only have one pair with claws on the end. Prawns, in comparison to shrimp of the same size, typically have proportionally longer legs.
  • Size: While prawns are larger, shrimp have more varieties

 Prawn vs. Crawfish

Since prawns and shrimps are similar I have decided to differentiate between prawns and crayfish. Find the list below:

  • Prawns are smaller than crayfish
  • The first known fossil of a prawn was created 250 million years ago. Records of crayfish that date back more than 30 million years are uncommon.
  • Crayfish a freshwater crustaceans, while prawns are saltwater crustaceans.
  • Crayfish are closely related to lobsters, and they are also referred to as crawdads and crayfish. Shrimps and prawns are closely related.
  • Prawns have branching gills, while crayfish have feather-like gills.
  • Unlike other decapods, prawns release their eggs into the water rather than brooding them on pleopods.
  • There are seven groups of prawns: two families belong to Sergestoidea and five to Penaeoidea. Conversely, there are three groups of crayfish, two of which are found in the North and one in the South.

Shrimp, crayfish, and prawns are known for their excellent quality and great nutritional content. They are naturally found all over the world and are produced specifically for nutrition. They are also a delight for those who enjoy seafood.

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.

Because they are sophisticated and elegant, shrimp and prawns are a great option for seafood cocktails at expensive gatherings. A tasty complement to a seafood cocktail or a delectable component of a boil is crawfish.

For this reason, all three will appeal to you if you enjoy seafood.


What is the difference between shrimp prawns and crayfish?

Crayfish and prawns are both aquatic animals; however, crawfish are found in freshwater environments, whilst prawns are primarily found in saltwater. Almost all shrimp (and thus prawns) live in saltwater.

However, some shrimp are found in freshwater, such as the Claw River shrimp.

How can you tell the difference between shrimp and prawns?

Shrimp have a membrane separating the segments of their shell, making them extremely pliable and adaptable. Because the segments of a prawn’s shell overlap one another, their bodies are stiffer and move less.

What is the difference between shrimp and crayfish?

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.

Shrimp are often gray, white, or even transparent, but crayfish are frequently mottled in hues of brown, red, orange, and green. All crustaceans have sexual reproduction.

How do you identify prawns?

When compared to shrimp, prawns are larger and mostly found in freshwater environments. Three of the legs of prawns are covered in claws, which helps to distinguish them from unpeeled prawns. The prawn’s lack of a bend in its body aids in identification

Is Nigerian crayfish shrimp?

Owing to their features, I would argue that Nigerian crayfish are more like shrimp. 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!

Are all shrimp called prawns?

True prawns and shrimp are 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.

What does shrimp look like?

Shrimps have long, muscular abdomens and are thin. They don’t resemble crabs; instead, they resemble little lobsters. Crabs have small, short abdomens, while shrimp and lobsters have big, lengthy abdomens.

Shrimp’s pleopods, which are best suited for swimming, are supported by their lower abdomens.

Is shrimp bigger than crayfish?

Most of the time, shrimp are smaller than crayfish. Crayfish can grow to be very large, with a weight range of 0.5 to 2.6 pounds

What are the characteristics of prawns and shrimp?

The size of prawns is greater, and they have larger legs with three sets of claws. Their gills branch out. Shrimps only have two pairs of claws, are smaller, and have shorter legs. They have lamellar, or plate-like, gills.

Do prawns look like shrimp?

Shrimp and prawns are two different species, despite having a striking similar appearance. Compared to shrimp, prawns are typically larger and have a sweeter flavor. Shrimp also come in a wider variety.

Both species have ten legs; however, shrimp only have one pair of claws, whilst prawns have pincers on three pairs of legs.

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. When cooked, prawns and shrimp both acquire an orange hue

Does crayfish taste like prawns?

Both prawns and crawfish are crustaceans; however, while prawns live in salt water and have branching gills, crawfish are found in fresh water and have feather-like gills.

In terms of flavor, crawfish is more akin to lobster. Though smaller and sweeter than shrimp, prawns taste more like shrimp.

Does shrimp taste like crayfish?

A lot of people say that crayfish tastes like shrimp and crab combined because they are slightly sweet, slightly salty, and slightly mineral-flavored.

Can you mix crayfish with shrimp?

Keeping them with shrimp is not a good idea because shrimp are sometimes thought of as a welcome snack. Since dwarf crayfish do not consume plants, they can be kept in planted aquariums.

What are the 5 characteristics of prawn?
  • Fan-like tail.
  • They navigate through water with their tails instead of their legs.
  • The prawn has long antennae and five pairs of legs.
  • Prawns and shrimps have long antennae and big eyes.
  • The eyes of prawns and shrimps are fully formed.
What color are prawns naturally?

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.

Where is shrimp found in Nigeria?

Nigeria is fortunate to have an abundance of shrimp because the Niger Delta region contains numerous mangrove and coastal areas.

What is the difference between shrimp and prawns in size?

Shrimp are typically 2 cm (0.79 in) long, while some can reach up to 25 cm (9.8 in). We refer to the larger ones as prawns.

What is the difference between a crayfish and a crawfish?

The aquatic creature 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.

West Coasters or those from Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas frequently refer to one another as “crawdads.”

Is there a scientific difference between shrimp and prawn?

To be more specific, prawns belong to the suborder Dendobranchiata, while shrimp are classified as Pleocyemata.

Gill’s structure is the primary distinction between these two suborders. Prawns have lamellar gills, which resemble plates, whereas shrimp have branching gills.

How can you tell the difference between shrimp?

Shrimps have two pairs of front legs with claws and lamellar, plate-like gills. In contrast, prawns have three sets of legs with claws, the front pair being notably larger, and branching gills.

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. When cooked, prawns and shrimp both acquire an orange hue.