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Shrimp / Shrimp or Prawn / Prawns ??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by JohnPeel, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Is it a Prawn or a Shrimp?

    Im cooking prawns in garlic butter tonight, and I was just looking to see if I could feed the heads and shells to the chooks. And I find out that I can, including the garlic butter. I also find out that the garlic butter is good for them, as is the shell from the prawns.

    The thing that most amazed me was that there is a huge debate with regard to what is a prawn and what is a shrimp.

    I was brought up in Australia, and as kids we used to catch prawns, and shrimp from the rivers and the sea, and I can tell you that there was a difference to us back then, 30+ years ago, and there is a difference to us now.

    We considered a shrimp to have a hump in its shell on its tail, and a prawn to much smoother and rounder on its tail. We didn't think of a prawn as being huge and a shrimp as being small, although as it turned out where we were, tiger prawns were big and river shrimp we used for bait were small. It also turns out that some shrimp are bigger than some prawns.

    Here is something I took from the net to explain the difference better, but it has to be said that it still might not be 100% right! What do you think?


    The crustaceans that Australians call prawns belong to one decapod family, Penaeidae. Adults grow to about 200 mm long. Most penaeids sold in Australian fish shops are caught by trawlers in the tropics, in places like the Gulf of Carpentaria. Small fisheries for prawns exist in estuaries farther south. In Asia prawns are raised in coastal farms.

    Penaeids live close to the seafloor in shallow water, burrowing in the mud during the day and moving only at night, when they can be caught by trawl nets. Prawns reproduce by dispersing their eggs freely into the water, where the young prawns hatch and swim into estuaries to grow up.

    There are about 70 species of prawns in Australia, but only 10 are of economic significance: banana prawn, Endeavour prawn, tiger prawn, king prawn, red-spot prawn and school prawn are some of the names used for different species or groups of species.

    Australian shrimps, on the other hand, are members of the Caridea, another group of Decapoda comprising many families. Most carideans are not edible, or they are too small (rarely more than 40 mm long) to be caught commercially in Australia. The only edible shrimps seen in Australia are imported in cans from Asia. Carideans produce eggs that are carried by the adult female, attached to the swimmerets under the tail.

    Hinge-beak Shrimp
    Photographer: Michael Marmach. Source: Museum Victoria

    A typical shrimp
    Illustration: Jo Taylor. Source: Museum Victoria
    Telling shrimps and prawns apart

    An important difference between penaeids and carideans, besides the way they reproduce, is in the way the segments of the abdomen (tail) overlap. In penaeids (prawns) the sides of all segments overlap the segment behind, like roof tiles. In carideans (shrimps) the sides of the second segment overlap both the one before and the one after (see drawing). And in prawns the first three of the five pairs of legs on the body have small pincers, while in shrimps only two pairs are claw-like. In some shrimps one or other of the first two pairs of legs is bigger than the other whereas in prawns all the legs are similar lengths.

    A shrimp in the USA is a prawn in Australia!

    But that is not the end of the story. There is a large fishery for penaeids in the southern USA, especially in the Gulf of Mexico, and Americans call them shrimp! Paul Hogan made the word familiar in Australia with his expression ‘Throw another shrimp on the barbie!’

    A typical prawn
    Illustration: Jo Taylor / Source: Museum Victoria

  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Wrong section and this is in part a colloquial issue not likely to be resolved with considering people in different parts of world use different terminology..

    In the US the term prawn is used for catadromous species with only early life-stages occurring in brackish or marine environments. This all belongs to the genus Macrobrachium. Shrimp is used for strictly marine or strictly freshwater species with relationships among those not being so tidy.
  3. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    Now there you go! I was just thinking that the drawing at the end of that article looked like what I grew up calling a shrimp, and apparently our shrimp are in the same family as what you folks call prawns. Go figure![​IMG]

    But what I'd like to know is, what is a langoustine?
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Scrawny lobster of a particular species. Not same as American or spiny lobsters.
  5. It's a typw of lobster and I love them. From time to time in the summer I buy them fresh and boil them up and sit outside in the sun with a beer. Not much meat on them for their size, but really tasty.

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