What’s the Difference Between Prawns and Shrimps?

Difference Between Prawns and Shrimps

People often wonder, is there any difference between prawns and shrimps? Prawns and shrimps are sea creatures that belong to the family Crustacean and are among the most consumed seafood in the world.

Widely savored for their unique taste, they can be consumed alone or added to other dishes.

They can also be cooked in various ways: boiled, fried, grilled, or smoked.

The names “prawn” and “shrimp” are often used interchangeably in culinary terms due to their similarity in taste and appearance.

More so, they are often categorized together by people from various countries.

For instance, Australians, British, New Zealanders, and Irish refer to both animals as “prawn,” while Americans collectively call them “shrimp.”

Despite all these similarities, some notable differences between prawns and shrimps can help you identify which you wish to buy just one the next time. Let’s find out!

Taxonomic Classification

Prawns and shrimps belong to the subphylum of Crustacean, including crabs, lobsters, crayfish, etc.

They also belong to the order “Decapoda,” which means “10-footed” because they have ten legs.

However, they belong to different suborders. While prawn belongs to the suborder Dendrobranchiata, shrimp are in the Pleocyemata.

They also belong to other families, with prawns belonging to Penaeidae and shrimps belonging to Caridea.


A notable difference between prawns and shrimps is in their habitat.

Although both prawns and shrimp are aquatic animals that dwell in large water bodies, the type of water body they reside in differs.

Prawns are primarily found in freshwater habitats like rivers and lakes. Shrimps, on the other hand, live exclusively in saltwater habitats.


Prawns are usually larger than shrimps and have straighter body shapes; they can grow up to 6 inches and above.

In comparison, shrimps are smaller, with most species of shrimp being between 1 to 3 inches long, and they have more curved body shapes, which allows them to adjust their body and movement better than prawns.


Another difference between prawns and shrimps is noticeable in their area of reproduction.

Prawns release their fertilized eggs into the water and leave them to grow and care for themselves.

On the other hand, shrimps carry their eggs on the underside of their bodies until they hatch.


Both prawns and shrimps have great culinary tastes, making them among some of the well sought after seafood.

However, when unseasoned, shrimps tend to have a noticeable salty taste which could be due to their habitat being in saltwater bodies.

In comparison, prawns have a sweeter taste when unseasoned.


It is clear that despite their similarities, there is still some difference between prawns and shrimps that can be used to tell them apart.

Most often, regional differences and local naming add to the confusion of distinguishing these two species from each other.

Regardless of their similarities or differences, prawn and shrimp are two great sources of proteins for our diet and a culinary delight for those who delight in consuming seafood.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like