Difference Between Lobster and Crayfish (with Table)

Lobster and Crayfish are very commonly differentiated by people and people find them very similar when looked at by the naked eye. However, that is not the case.

The differences between Lobsters and Crayfish are not limited to their select cooking styles. It goes way beyond, they both are a completely different set of animals and belong to different genetic families.

For the most part, lobsters are bigger than crawfish and can grow up to more than 20 inches. When lobsters are gathered for food, they are in any event eight inches in length. Lobsters favor little sea creatures and at times, they become scavengers. The flavor and the surface of the squat lobster are like that of shrimps. Except if something else, both the taste and the surface of crayfish and lobster is equivalent.

Lobster belongs to the Palinuridae family while Crayfish belongs to Canbaridae, Astacidae, and Parastacidae family. Lobsters are found in North America while Crayfish are generally found in Europe. This is a reason that Europeans sometimes refer to Lobsters as Sea Crayfish.

The difference between crayfish and lobster is that the crayfish live in freshwater which includes rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. Whereas, the lobster lives in saltwater which includes oceans and the sea. Also, crayfish are generally small while lobsters are comparatively large. 

Comparison Table Between Lobster and Crayfish

Parameters of ComparisonLobsterCrayfish
FamilyLobster belongs to the Palinuridae familyCrayfish belongs to Canbaridae, Astacidae and Parastacidae family 
Geographical locationLobsters mainly live in EuropeCrayfish mainly live in North America
SizeLobsters are larger than crayfishCrayfish are comparatively smaller.
DietLobsters mainly eat small fishes, snails, and prawnsCrayfish mainly eat plants, worms, and insects.
ColorLobsters are colorfulCrayfish have a greenish color
HabitatLobsters live in saltwaterCrayfish live in freshwater.
ClawsA lobster has two large pincers or clawsA crayfish do not have them.

What are Lobsters?

Lobsters are a family of large marine crustaceans, it is the common name of marine decapod crustaceans. They have long bodies with muscular tails. They prefer to live in crevices or burrows which exist on the seafloor. They also have claws.

Lobsters belong to the Palinuridae family. They are mainly found in Europe and are comparatively larger in size than Crayfish. They live in saltwater which includes oceans and seas.

They are colorful and have a set of two large pincers or claws. They mainly eat small fishes, snails, and prawns. The true lobsters (Homaridae) have claws (chelae) on the first three pairs of legs, with very large claws on the first pair.

In the words of people who eat seafood, they are often called sea crayfish. However, it must be noted that lobsters are a lot different than Crayfish. Both physically and genetically.

Genetically they belong to completely different families while physically they have a lot of differences in their appearance as well as style of living.

The history cook: the lobster's humble beginnings | Financial Times

What is Crayfish?

Crayfish are freshwater Crustaceans. Appearance-wise Crayfish has a joined head and thorax and a segmented body. Their head has a sharp snout, and their compound eyes are on movable stalks. Their exoskeleton, or body covering, is thin but tough. Adult Crayfish can be about 3 inches long.

RECOMMENDED
Difference Between Mini Cooper and Mini One (With Table)

Adult Crayfish can be about 3 inches long. Crayfish belongs to Canbaridae, Astacidae, and, Parastacidae family. They are mainly found in North America and are comparatively smaller than Lobsters. 

Crayfish live in freshwater and mainly eat plants, worms, and insects. Appearance-wise they are green in color. They are invertebrates i.e they do not have a backbone. They defend against their attackers using their strong claws.

Many people confuse between Crayfish and Lobsters and find them similar. People fond of eating seafood often refer to Lobsters as sea crayfish. They do so because Lobsters live in seawater while Crayfish live in freshwater.

Crayfish | Alimentarium

Main Differences Between Lobsters and Crayfish

  1. Lobster belongs to the Palinuridae family while Crayfish belongs to Canbaridae, Astacidae, and Parastacidae family.
  2. Lobsters are found in North America while Crayfish are generally found in Europe. This is a reason that Europeans sometimes refer to Lobsters as Sea Crayfish.
  3. Lobsters are large in size. Crayfish are comparatively smaller in size. This is the reason for people in North America to often refer to Crayfish as mini Lobsters.
  4. Lobsters mainly eat small fishes, snails, and prawns while Crayfish mainly eat plants, worms, and insects. This differentiation in eating habits is seen in their texture.
  5. Lobsters can be colorful while Crayfish have a greenish color. Even after this differentiation in color people often confuse as they find them similar.
  6. Lobsters live in seawater while Crayfish live in freshwater. This is another reason Europeans call Lobsters as sea Crayfish.
  7. A lobster has two large pincers while Crayfish does not possess them. However, the claws of Crayfish are strong enough to fight against an attacker.

Conclusion

Lobsters and Crayfish are mistaken as the same thing by the majority of people. However, such is not the case. There are differences between Lobsters and Crayfish both physically and genetically.

Many people in North America call Crayfish as mini Lobsters while people in North America often refer to Lobsters as sea crayfish. This is mainly because even after lobsters being colorful and Crayfish being greenish they look similar.

Lobster belongs to the Palinuridae family while Crayfish belongs to Canbaridae, Astacidae, and Parastacidae family. Lobsters are found in North America while Crayfish are generally found in Europe. This is a reason that Europeans sometimes refer to Lobsters as Sea Crayfish.

Lobsters mainly eat small fishes, snails, and prawns while Crayfish mainly eat plants, worms, and insects. Lobsters possess two large pincers or claws while Crayfish does possess them. However, the Crayfish have claws strong enough to fight against its enemy or prey.

Thus there is no denying the fact that the differences between Lobsters and Crayfish are multiple and significant. Hence, one should not mistake them as similar. Both of them have characteristics of their own.

References

  1. https://rupress.org/jgp/article-abstract/44/6/1089/30533
  2. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.2307/1542217