Do you know what the difference is between a prawn and a shrimp?

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Monday, 27 July 2020 12:36

Prawns and shrimp are the most popular

seafood consumed. However, they are not always named by the correct name.

Well, first, both prawns and shrimp are crustaceans, that is, they have a shell that protects them and that they change as the animal develops.

Prawns and shrimp have come to be used as interchangeable terms for two different animals (which term is largely dependent on your location). The US tends to use the term shrimp, while the United Kingdom calls invertebrates’ prawns.

Others have embraced the idea that prawns are large, and shrimp are smaller, but this is not accurate. Prawns and shrimp are different animals, with different physical and reproductive characteristics.

Suborder differences

Despite having a similar appearance and the same flavor, prawns and shrimp are different animals, belonging to different biological suborders. Prawns and shrimp are both crustaceans. They are biologically classified in the order of the decapods, and yet they are classified into different suborders. Shrimp belong to the Pleocyemata suborder, while prawns belong to the Dendrobranchiata suborder.

Body differences

Prawns and shrimp have an exoskeleton and three body segments, including the head, thorax, and abdomen. However, there are basic morphological differences, although they can be difficult to detect. You can spot the shrimp and prawn body differences before they've been peeled and cleaned. In the lower body of a shrimp, you will notice the overlap of the head on the thorax and abdomen. However, in a prawn, the head will overlap the thorax and the thorax will overlap the abdomen. The size rule that suggests that prawns are larger does not always apply.

Legs and gills

Prawns and shrimp have ten legs that they use to propel themselves through the water. However, a prawn has the longest legs, with two pairs of front claws like a lobster. A shrimp has shorter legs with front darts that are typically larger. Prawns and shrimp also have differing gill structures. Prawns have a branched gill structure, whereas a shrimp has a lamellar gill or plate structure.

Reproductive differences

Prawns and shrimp differ in that they follow different reproductive patterns. Both begin their lives as males, but become females during their last year of life. Female shrimp hold their eggs in a brood chamber below their abdomen. The brood chamber is kept attached to the female shrimp during incubation. When the eggs hatch, they are released into a zoea between the plankton during larval development. A female prawn does not have a brood chamber. The prawn will launch its eggs into the stream where they develop independently.

But it must be recognized that over the years, the way shrimp and prawn are used has changed, and these days, the terms are almost interchangeable.

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