09 Oct 2019
Shrimp vs. Prawns. What’s the Difference?
Written by Zach Stein

Silly article this week, but we do sometimes get the question. We chat with farmers all around the world. When we talk with a farmer in the Americas they (generally) tell us they are raising shrimp, but when we talk to a farmer in Australia, they say they are raising prawns. Sometimes this is the same species of animal, so who is correct? 

Read below to find out!

Different Species

If you read the links above, you will see that shrimp and prawns are actually different species. This makes sense if you know even a little about the major farmed species of these two groups of crustaceans. You can tell in the names. The two main species of farmed shrimp go by their non-latin names of the animals: Pacific Whiteleg shrimp and Asian Black Tiger Shrimp, and on the other side, Giant Freshwater Prawns. 

Shrimp and prawns are a different species but they look very similar. The biggest difference is that shrimp generally are found/raised in salt water and prawns are exclusively found in fresh water. See this great article for a full list of details on how to tell the two apart. Basically it starts getting really hard once they have been de-shelled. 

Regional Differences

Is this a very important distinction? No. We talk with plenty of Australian farmers who happily refer to Vannamei shrimp as prawns. Say what you are comfortable with from where you grew up and enjoy having a fun fact to share at parties. 

Conclusion

If you are a consumer of shrimp you are most likely having shrimp. The two main farmed species, Vannamei (Pacific Whiteleg) and Monodon (Black Tiger) are raised in salt water. If you have a really big one in your curry, it could be a freshwater prawn.