Difference Between Krill and Shrimp

Krill and shrimp are two different species of organisms though they belong to crustaceans but have unique orders.

Both of the organisms vary in body size as krill is smaller in size as compared to shrimp which is comparatively larger and has an elongated body.

Krill vs Shrimp

The main difference between krill and shrimp is that the krill are of the Euphausiacea order, and the shrimp are the Natantia suborder of the Decapoda order. It has been said that krill only has 85 species, whereas shrimp has more than 1900 species. Krill are smaller in size as compared to shrimp. Moreover, krill are transparent, and shrimp are colorful.  

Krill vs Shrimp

Krill is considered as an important trophic level connection between the food chains. They feed on various planktons and zooplanktons.

Shrimp are abundant in nature. They play a key role in the food chain. The muscular part of the shrimp is used for human consumption.

Comparison Table Between Krill and Shrimp

Parameters of ComparisonKrillShrimp
SizeSmallerComparatively Larger
Body StructureThree segment body- Cephalon, thorax, and abdomenTwo segment body- cephalothorax and abdomen
CharacteristicMostly TransparentColorful
ReproductionLay thousands of eggs per yearLay millions of eggs per session

What is Krill?

Krill are small crustaceans of the order Euphausiacea, and it has been reported that 85 different species of krill are found in the world’s ocean.

The krill is zooplankton that can float at the upper surface of the water and is at the mercy of ocean currents. They are not able to swim in the water because they change their position.

Krill has been a major source of proteins and omega-3 fatty acids and was used as a human food source in the early 21st century as dietary supplements, livestock food, capsules, etc.

What is Shrimp?

Shrimp have decoded crustaceans with elongated and two-segmented bodies, i.e., cephalothorax and abdomen. Its body color also varies from species to species and can be influenced by age, harvest season, diets, and the farm sites.

The length varies from a few millimeters to more than 20 cm. The size of shrimp is approximately between 4 to 8 cm. It has thin, fragile legs, which they use primarily for perching.

The muscular tail of shrimp is used for human consumption. The shrimp are low in fat and are a rich source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Main Differences Between Krill and Shrimp 

  1. Krill are herbivores. On the other hand, shrimp are omnivores.
  2. Krill are generally smaller in size, whereas shrimp are comparatively larger.
Difference Between Krill and Shrimp


 The krill and shrimp are crustaceans, but they both belong to different orders. The krill are smaller in size as compared to shrill. There have been 85 species of krill, which are known to date, and for shrimp, 1900 species are known.

The farming of shrimp has benefitted the industry a lot. Whereas the krill is a rich source of proteins and omega -3 fatty acids are used as capsules, dietary supplements, etc.


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2095.2010.00791.x
  2. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=yo8fRGvracAC&oi=fnd&pg=PA262&dq=krill+vs+shrimp&ots=9KmjHKdKxo&sig=kdS_iRejiERKly65AjqAqV9UBXY
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