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Prawn vs Shrimp: What's the Difference?

Prawn vs Shrimp: What's the Difference?

If you're a seafood lover, you've probably heard the terms "prawn" and "shrimp" used interchangeably. While these two creatures look similar and share some characteristics, they are not the same. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the differences between prawns and shrimp, including their biological classification, anatomy, culinary aspects, and nutritional value.

Biological Classification and Anatomy Prawns and shrimp belong to the same order, Decapoda, but they are classified into different suborders. Prawns are classified as Dendrobranchiata, while shrimp are classified as Pleocyemata. One of the main differences between prawns and shrimp is their anatomy. Prawns have branching gills, while shrimp have lamellar gills. Prawns also have longer legs than shrimp and a second pair of claws on their third abdominal segment.

Culinary Aspects and Nutritional Value When it comes to cooking, prawns and shrimp can be used interchangeably in many recipes. However, prawns tend to have a sweeter and more delicate flavour than shrimp. In terms of nutritional value, both prawns and shrimp are low in fat and calories, making them a healthy choice for seafood lovers. They are also a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals such as selenium and zinc.

Key Takeaways

  • Prawns and shrimp are not the same and belong to different suborders.
  • Prawns have branching gills, longer legs, and a second pair of claws on their third abdominal segment.
  • Prawns have a sweeter and more delicate flavour than shrimp, and both are low in fat and calories while being a good source of protein and minerals.

Biological Classification and Anatomy

A prawn and a shrimp are placed side by side, showcasing their distinct anatomy for biological classification

Distinctive Features

When it comes to prawns and shrimp, there are a few key differences in their biological classification and anatomy. Both prawns and shrimp are decapod crustaceans, meaning they have ten legs, and are classified under the suborder Pleocyemata. However, there are some anatomical differences between the two.

One of the main differences is the shape of their bodies. Prawns have a more straight and elongated body shape, while shrimp have a more curved body shape. Another difference is in their claws or pincers. Prawns have claws on three pairs of their legs, while shrimp only have them on two pairs. Additionally, their gills are different. Prawns have branching gills, while shrimp have plate-like gills.

Habitat and Varieties

Both prawns and shrimp are found in a variety of habitats, including freshwater, saltwater, and even brackish water. Prawns are typically found in warmer waters and are often larger than shrimp. They also tend to have a harder exoskeleton and a more complex segmentation of their thorax and abdomen.

Shrimp, on the other hand, are found in both warm and cold waters and are usually smaller than prawns. They have a more simplified segmentation of their thorax and abdomen, with the thorax overlapping the head and the abdomen. Shrimp also have distinctive front pincers that are longer than the rest of their legs and are used for capturing prey.

Culinary Aspects and Nutritional Value

A plate of prawns and shrimp, arranged in a visually appealing manner, with colorful and nutritious side dishes

Cooking Techniques

When it comes to cooking prawns and shrimp, there are many options available. You can cook them fresh or frozen, peeled or shell-on, and using different methods such as frying, grilling, steaming, or sautéing.

If you prefer a crispy texture, you can fry them in a batter or breadcrumbs. Grilling is another great option that imparts a smoky flavour to the seafood. Steaming is a healthier option that preserves the natural flavour and texture of the prawns or shrimp. Sautéing is a quick and easy option that allows you to add your favourite spices and herbs.

Health Benefits

Both prawns and shrimp are excellent sources of lean protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscles. They are also low in calories and high in nutrients such as iron, selenium, vitamins, and minerals.

Prawns are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain function and heart health. They also contain vitamin B12, which is crucial for the nervous system and red blood cell production. Shrimp, on the other hand, are high in phosphorus, which is essential for strong bones and teeth.

Including prawns and shrimp in your diet can provide many health benefits, but it is important to choose fresh, high-quality seafood and avoid overcooking or adding excessive amounts of salt or unhealthy fats.

Recipes and Menus

There are many delicious recipes and menus that feature prawns and shrimp. You can use them as a main ingredient in stir-fries, curries, tacos, or pasta dishes. They also make great appetizers when served with a dipping sauce or as part of a seafood platter.

When shopping for prawns and shrimp, look for a variety of sizes and types, such as king prawns, tiger prawns, or jumbo shrimp. You can find them fresh or frozen in most supermarkets or fish markets.

Frequently Asked Questions

A prawn and a shrimp face off, surrounded by a crowd of curious onlookers. The two crustaceans stand side by side, each displaying their unique features and characteristics

What's the difference in taste between prawns and shrimps?

When it comes to taste, prawns and shrimps are quite similar, but prawns tend to have a sweeter flavour. However, this can vary depending on the species and where they are caught.

How do prawns and shrimps differ in size?

Prawns are generally larger than shrimps, with longer legs and a longer body. Shrimps have a more slender body and shorter legs than prawns. However, there can be variations in size depending on the species and where they are caught.

Are prawns and shrimps nutritionally different?

Both prawns and shrimps are excellent sources of protein, but prawns tend to have slightly more protein per serving. They are also both low in fat and calories, making them a healthy choice.

What's the calorie count comparison between prawns and shrimps?

Both prawns and shrimps are low in calories, with around 100 calories per 100g serving. However, this can vary depending on the cooking method and any added ingredients.

How can you tell apart a prawn from a shrimp when you're eating?

The easiest way to tell the difference between a prawn and a shrimp is by looking at their legs. Prawns have three pairs of legs with pincers, while shrimps only have one pair of legs with pincers.

In terms of cost, which one tends to be pricier, prawns or shrimps?

The cost of prawns and shrimps can vary depending on the species, where they are caught, and the season. In general, prawns tend to be more expensive than shrimps due to their larger size and sweeter flavour. However, this can vary depending on the market.