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Shrimp vs. Prawns — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Published on December 2, 2023
Shrimp is a small crustaceans, typically marine. Prawns is a larger crustaceans, similar but biologically distinct.
Shrimp vs. Prawns — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Shrimp and Prawns

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Key Differences

Shrimp and Prawns are both decapod crustaceans, but they belong to different suborders. Shrimp belong to the suborder Pleocyemata, while Prawns are classified under the suborder Dendrobranchiata.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023
Shrimp generally have a shorter body and a curved shape. They also have claws on two of their legs. Prawns, on the other hand, have a longer body and are straighter. They possess claws on three pairs of their legs.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023
Another difference lies in their gill structures. Shrimp have branching gills, while Prawns have lamellar gills, which are plate-like. These distinct gill structures are a key way to differentiate between the two.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023
In terms of habitat and size, Shrimp are typically found in saltwater, although some species inhabit freshwater. They tend to be smaller than Prawns. Prawns, conversely, are often found in freshwater, but many species thrive in saltwater. Generally, Prawns are larger and have a more robust flavor than Shrimp.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023
Lastly, the terms Shrimp and Prawns are sometimes used interchangeably in culinary contexts, especially in the US. However, from a biological perspective, Shrimp and Prawns are distinctly different species with unique characteristics.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Suborder

Pleocyemata
Dendrobranchiata
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Dec 02, 2023

Body Shape

Shorter and curved
Longer and straighter
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Dec 02, 2023

Number of Clawed Legs

Two pairs of clawed legs
Three pairs of clawed legs
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Dec 02, 2023

Gill Structure

Branching gills
Lamellar or plate-like gills
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Dec 02, 2023

Typical Habitat

Mostly saltwater (some freshwater)
Often freshwater (many saltwater)
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Dec 02, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Shrimp

Popular seafood in many cuisines.
Shrimp tacos are my favorite dish.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Prawns

Larger decapod crustaceans.
Prawns taste delicious when grilled.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Shrimp

Small marine crustaceans.
I love adding Shrimp to my pasta.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Prawns

Widely consumed in many global cuisines.
Prawn curry is a popular dish in many countries.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Shrimp

Have branching gills.
A biologist can identify Shrimp by examining their gills.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Prawns

Three pairs of their legs have claws.
Observing the claws on Prawns can be fascinating.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Shrimp

Often found in saltwater habitats.
We caught some Shrimp while fishing at the beach.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Prawns

Often bigger than Shrimp.
I prefer the meatier texture of Prawns over Shrimp.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Shrimp

Any of various small, chiefly marine, often edible decapod crustaceans that have a laterally compressed, elongated body with long antennae and long legs used for swimming. The shrimps include species belonging to the superfamily Penaeoidea of the suborder Dendrobranchiata and to the infraorder Caridea of the suborder Pleocyemata.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

Prawns

Have lamellar gills.
Prawns can be differentiated from Shrimp by their gill structure.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Shrimp

The flesh of one of these crustaceans, used as food.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

Prawns

Any of various shrimps, especially one that is large or inhabits fresh water.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

Shrimp

Any of various similar crustaceans, such as a fairy shrimp.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

Prawns

The flesh of a prawn, used as food.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

Shrimp

Derogatory Slang A person who is small in stature.
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Oct 11, 2023

Prawns

To fish for prawns.
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Oct 11, 2023

Shrimp

To fish for shrimp.
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Oct 11, 2023

Prawns

Plural of prawn
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Oct 11, 2023

Shrimp

Any of many swimming, often edible, crustaceans, chiefly of the infraorder Caridea or the suborder Dendrobranchiata, with slender legs, long whiskers and a long abdomen.
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Oct 11, 2023

Shrimp

(uncountable) The flesh of such crustaceans.
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Oct 11, 2023

Shrimp

(slang) A small, puny or unimportant person.
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Oct 11, 2023

Shrimp

Synonym of butterface: a person with an attractive body but unattractive face.
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Oct 11, 2023

Shrimp

(intransitive) To fish for shrimp.
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Oct 11, 2023

Shrimp

To contract; to shrink.
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Oct 11, 2023

Shrimp

To contract; to shrink.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

Shrimp

Any one of numerous species of macruran Crustacea belonging to Crangon and various allied genera, having a slender body and long legs. Many of them are used as food. The larger kinds are called also prawns. See Illust. of Decapoda.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

Shrimp

Figuratively, a little wrinkled man; a dwarf; - in contempt.
This weak and writhled shrimp.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

Shrimp

Disparaging terms for small people
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Oct 11, 2023

Shrimp

Any of various edible decapod crustaceans
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

Shrimp

Small slender-bodied chiefly marine decapod crustaceans with a long tail and single pair of pincers; many species are edible
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Oct 11, 2023

Shrimp

Fish for shrimp
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

Shrimp

Have a distinctive curved body.
The Shrimp's curved shape makes it easy to identify.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Common Curiosities

Do Shrimp and Prawns have different gill structures?

Yes, Shrimp have branching gills, while Prawns have lamellar or plate-like gills.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023

Are Prawns mostly freshwater or saltwater creatures?

Prawns can be found in both, but many are often associated with freshwater habitats.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023

And how about Prawns? How many clawed legs do they have?

Prawns have claws on three pairs of their legs.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023

Which is generally larger, Shrimp or Prawns?

Prawns are typically larger than Shrimp.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023

How many clawed legs do Shrimp have?

Shrimp have claws on two pairs of their legs.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023

Are Prawns meatier than Shrimp?

Generally, due to their larger size, Prawns tend to have a meatier texture compared to Shrimp.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023

Is it easy to differentiate between Shrimp and Prawns by looking at them?

While they have distinct differences, in many culinary contexts, they might look similar. Biologically, differences like gill structure can determine the distinction.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023

In which countries are Prawns more commonly consumed?

Prawns are popular in many countries, especially in parts of Asia, Europe, and Australia.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023

What are the main suborders for Shrimp and Prawns?

Shrimp belong to the suborder Pleocyemata, while Prawns belong to the suborder Dendrobranchiata.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023

Are Shrimp and Prawns the same?

No, Shrimp and Prawns are biologically distinct, although the terms are often used interchangeably in culinary contexts.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023

Do Shrimp have a curved body?

Yes, Shrimp typically have a shorter, curved body.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023

Which is more popular in culinary dishes, Shrimp or Prawns?

Both are popular, but the choice often depends on regional preferences and dish specifics.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023

Can Shrimp be found in freshwater?

While many Shrimp are saltwater creatures, some species do inhabit freshwater.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023

Do both Shrimp and Prawns taste the same?

While they have similar flavors, many believe Prawns to have a more robust flavor than Shrimp.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023

Do Prawns have a straighter body compared to Shrimp?

Yes, Prawns generally have a longer and straighter body than Shrimp.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 02, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at AskDifference.com, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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