difference between shrimp and prawns

Understanding the Difference Between Shrimp and Prawns

Shrimp and prawns are often used interchangeably to describe a variety of aquatic crustaceans. However, there are distinct differences between the two that are worth noting. In this article, we discuss the differences between prawns and shrimp and what sets one apart from the other.


One of the key differences between shrimp and prawns is their body anatomy. Prawns have a longer and slightly more slender body compared to the short, thick body of shrimp. Prawns also tend to have branching gill structures, while shrimp have lamellar gills. Finally, prawns usually have three pairs of claw-like legs, while shrimp have two.


The habitat of prawns and shrimp can also differ. Prawns are typically found in freshwater environments such as rivers and lakes, while shrimp are usually found in saltwater environments like oceans and seas. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and some species of shrimp may be found in freshwater environments.

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Flavor and Texture

Prawns tend to have a sweeter flavor compared to shrimp, which have a slightly briny taste. Prawns also have a slightly firmer texture, while shrimp tend to be more tender. This difference in texture is due to the fact that prawns have a more muscular tail section, while shrimp have more delicate flesh.

Culinary Uses

Both shrimp and prawns are popular ingredients in various cuisines worldwide. However, their different flavors and textures can impact how they are cooked and prepared. Prawns are often used in dishes that require stronger flavors and are commonly grilled or broiled. Shrimp, on the other hand, are typically used in dishes that require a milder flavor and are often boiled, fried, or sautéed.

In conclusion, while prawns and shrimp are similar in many ways, there are distinct differences between the two. From their body anatomy and habitat to their flavor and texture, understanding these differences can help you make better choices when selecting ingredients for your favorite recipes. Whether you prefer prawns or shrimp, both are versatile and delicious options to add to your next seafood dish.

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Table difference between shrimp and prawns

Characteristic Shrimp Prawns Size Smaller, typically 1-6 inches in length Larger, typically 6-12 inches in length Body Shape Slightly curved body and a curled tail Straight, elongated body and a straight tail Claws No claws or only small, undeveloped claws Possess well-developed claws on three of their five pairs of legs Geography Found in freshwater, saltwater, and brackish environments worldwide Mostly found in saltwater environments, especially in warmer climates Flavor and Texture Mild, sweet flavor with a firm texture Slightly sweeter flavor with a softer, more tender texture