Shrimps, prawns, crabs, lobsters and shell-fish are just some of the sea creatures known more commonly. Not many know, however, that prawns and shrimps — apparently quite similar looking — are in reality not that alike. Several restaurateurs serving sea-food also quite generically use the terms “shrimp” and “prawns” to mean either. What is worse, terminology for these marine creatures also differs with the culture. In the UK, for e.g., prawn is the word often used for both prawns and shrimp, while shrimp is the favorite common term for both in the U.S. Consumers are usually oblivious to the differences unless they are particularly fond of shelled water creatures, either as a hobby or as sea-food, because most of the recognizable features become rather ambiguous once these crustaceans are harvested and cooked. If you are keen on knowing one from the other, go through this article, because prawns and shrimps do have distinguishable features.
Difference Between Prawns And Shrimp
Prawns and shrimp come under the category decapods crustaceans, meaning 10 legged shelled arthropods. Both of these water creatures are related to each other with comparable features. Both have five pairs of legs, are found in fresh as well as salt water, nearer to the ocean floor, and have their eyes on the ends of the stalks. Both prawns and shrimp have two pair of antennas each, one longer than the other, to detect food, and are both equally good sources of protein with low fat content. This makes them a healthy choice of food. Prawns and shrimp contain high levels of zinc, iodine, vitamin B12, phosphorous, potassium, selenium and iron and also have calcium, magnesium and sodium in traces. Vitamin B-12 is necessary for proper brain function and formation of blood. However some features that can help you tell them apart are:
- Prawns are slightly larger, shrimp smaller.
- Biologically, both come under different suborders: prawns come under the suborder Dendobranchiata, whereas shrimp are classified under Pleocyemata.
- A notable difference between both is in the gill structure. While shrimps have branching gills, prawns have lamellar gills which give a more plate-like appearance.
- Another differentiating feature lies in the segments. In the case of prawns, the second segment overlaps the third, whereas in a shrimp, the second segment overlaps both the first and the third segment.
- Though both prawns and shrimps have pincers, the front pair of a shrimp’s pincers are larger compared to a prawns, whose second pair of pincers is larger.
- A prawn’s legs are longer than those of a shrimp’s. Prawns walk on three pairs of hind legs and use the front two pairs with pincers for eating.
- Female prawns lay their eggs in water once they conceive and the eggs develop in the water independently, whereas shrimp brood their eggs.
- Prawns are usually transparent and their internal organs are quite visible, but shrimps are usually pigmented, or sand colored.
- While prawns are a rich source of vitamin E, shrimps are rich in vitamin D. Both the vitamins are required for healthy bone, teeth and skin.
- Essential fatty acids like omega-3 are found in abundance in prawns and shrimps, which helps prevent heart disease, circulatory disease, and many other illnesses. Shrimps, in particular, are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, and are a great cure for swollen gums.