Prawns vs Shrimp: What is the real difference?

Prawns vs Shrimp: What is the real difference?

Prawns vs Shrimp: What is the real difference?

Prawns as well as shrimp are usually confused. In reality, the conditions are used interchangeably for fishing, farming and also culinary contexts.

You might have actually heard that prawns as well as shrimp are one and also the same.

Yet though they are strongly related, the two could be distinguished in a few ways.

This particular article explores the primary key differences and similarities between shrimp and prawns.

Definitions Vary Between Countries

Prawns on a Pan With Lemon

Share on Pinterest Both prawns & shrimp are found, farmed, sold and also served all around the planet.

Nevertheless, where you reside likely determines what term you make use of or see more regularly.

In the UK, Australia, New Ireland and Zealand, “prawn” is the typical term used for describing both real shrimp and prawns.

In North America, the word “shrimp” is utilized a lot more regularly, even though the term “prawn” is usually accustomed explain bigger species called those fished from water that is fresh.

Nevertheless, “shrimp” as well as “prawn” aren’t applied to the same context regularly, which makes it hard to know which crustacean you’re genuinely buying.


In North America, “shrimp” is utilized much more generally, while “prawn” describes species which are bigger or perhaps present in water that is fresh. Ireland and commonwealth countries tend to utilize “prawn” more regularly.

shrimp and prawns Actually are Scientifically Distinct Although there is simply no regular characterization for prawns and shrimp for fishing, farming and also culinary contexts, they’re scientifically distinct since they are available from various branches of the crustacean family tree.

Both shrimp as well as prawns are members of the decapod order. The word “decapod” literally means “10 footed.” Thereby, both shrimp as well as prawns have ten legs. Nevertheless, the 2 kinds of crustaceans come from various suborders of decapods.

Shrimp belong towards the pleocyemata suborder, that also contains crabs, lobsters, and crayfish. On the flip side, prawns belong towards the dendrobranchiata suborder.

Nevertheless, for use that is common, the conditions “prawn” as well as “shrimp” are used interchangeably for most species of pleocyemata and dendrobranchiata.

Both shrimp and prawns have a slim exoskeleton as well as the systems of theirs are split into 3 major segments: the top, abdomen and thorax (one).

The primary anatomical difference between prawns as well as shrimp is the body form of theirs.

In shrimp, the thorax overlaps the belly as well as the top. However in prawns, each part overlaps the segment below it. That’s, the top overlaps the thorax as well as the thorax overlaps the abdomen.

Due to this particular, prawns are powerless to bend the bodies of theirs sharply the way shrimp may well.

The legs of theirs can also be more or less different. Prawns have 3 pairs of claw like legs, while shrimp have just one pair. Prawns likewise have longer legs than shrimp.

An additional primary distinction between prawns as well as shrimp is how they reproduce.

Shrimp have their fertilized eggs in the undersides of the systems of theirs, but prawns release the eggs of theirs to the water and then leave them to develop by themselves.


Prawns as well as shrimp originate from various branches of the crustacean family tree. Shrimp are members of the pleocyemata suborder, while prawns are included in the dendrobranchiata suborder. They’ve several differences in anatomy.

They Live in Various kinds of Water Both prawns & shrimp are discovered in bodies of h20 from all around the planet.

Based on the species, shrimp is discovered in each cold and warm water, out of the tropics on the poles, and also in either fresh or maybe salt water.

Nevertheless, just aproximatelly twenty three % of shrimp are freshwater species (2Trusted Source).

Many shrimp is located close to the bottom part of the body of water they inhabit. A number of species may be found sitting on plant foliage, while others use the smaller legs of theirs as well as claws to perch on the seafloor.

Prawns could additionally be discovered in each new and salt water, but unlike shrimp, most varieties are discovered in water that is fresh.

Many varieties of prawn favor warmer waters. Nevertheless, different species may additionally be discovered in wintry waters in the Northern Hemisphere.

Prawns frequently live in calm waters where they are able to perch on rocks or plants and comfortably lay the eggs of theirs.


Prawns and shrimp live in both new and salt water. Nevertheless, the vast majority of shrimp are discovered in salt water while many prawns live in water that is fresh.

They are often Different Sizes

Prawns as well as shrimp are usually distinguished by the size of theirs, as prawns are usually bigger compared to shrimp.

Nevertheless, there’s no regular size limit which sets the 2 apart. Most commonly, folks classify these crustaceans by matter every pound.

Typically speaking, “large” implies you typically get forty or maybe less prepared prawns or shrimp a pound (aproximatelly eighty eight per kg). “Medium” refers to aproximatelly fifty a pound (110 per kg), and also “small” represents aproximatelly sixty a pound (132 per kg).

Nevertheless, the simple fact of the matter is the size might not be a signal of a true shrimp or maybe a true prawn, because each kind comes in a multitude of sizes, based on the species.


Prawns are generally larger compared to shrimp. Nevertheless, there’s exceptions to the principle – huge varieties of shrimp as well as tiny varieties of prawns. Consequently, it is difficult to differentiate between the 2 by size alone.

The Nutrient Profiles of theirs Actually are Similar

There aren’t any major documented differences between shrimp and prawns with regards to the nutrition of theirs.

Each is a great supply of protein, while simultaneously being comparatively low in calories.

Three ounces (eighty five grams) of shrimp or maybe prawns contain around 18 grams of protein and just aproximatelly 85 calories (three).

Prawns as well as shrimp are occasionally criticized for the high cholesterol content of theirs. Nevertheless, each really gives a really appealing fat profile, including a great deal of healthy omega 3 essential fatty acids (three).

3 ounces of shrimp or maybe prawns supply 166 mg of cholesterol, but additionally aproximatelly 295 mg of omega 3 essential fatty acids.

Along with offering good oils as well as lean protein, these crustaceans are extremely good sources of selenium, an essential antioxidant. You are able to get roughly 50 % of the day value of selenium in just three ounces (eighty five grams) (three).

Furthermore, the kind of selenium discovered in shellfish is perfectly assimilated by the human body.

Finally, prawns as well as shrimp are extremely good sources of vitamin B12, phosphorus and iron.


You will find no documented disparities between the food profiles of shrimp as well as prawns. They both present a great supply of protein, fats that are healthy and lots of minerals and vitamins, yet are lower in calories.

They are often Used Interchangeably in the Kitchen There’s no conclusive taste which distinguishes a shrimp originating from a prawn. They are similar in texture as well as taste.

Others say prawns are somewhat sweeter and meatier compared to shrimp, while shrimp tend to be more delicate. Nevertheless, the species’ diet plan as well as habitat have a significantly greater impact on texture and taste.

Thus, prawns as well as shrimp are usually used interchangeably in dishes.

You will find many methods to prepare these shellfish. Each is often fried, grilled or maybe steamed. They may be prepared with the layer on or off.

Both shrimp and prawns are recognized for the ability of theirs to cook fast, making them a great ingredient in an easy and quick meal.


For all purposes and intents, prawns as well as shrimp sample exactly the same, with a taste profile indicative of the species’ diet and habitat. Originating from a culinary standpoint, there’s almost no difference in between the 2.

The Bottom Line

Around the planet, the terms “shrimp” as well as “prawns” are usually used interchangeably. They could be categorized by the size of theirs, shape or maybe the water type they live in.

Nevertheless, prawns as well as shrimp are scientifically unique. They originate from various branches of the crustacean family tree plus are anatomically distinct.

Nevertheless, the nutrition profiles of theirs are extremely similar. Each is a great supply of protein, minerals, vitamins as well as healthy fats.

And so even though they could be somewhat different, both are healthy additions to the diet plan of yours and you will probably have no difficulty substituting one for the various other in many dishes.

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