Difference Between Prawn and Crayfish

When we see various sea creatures, especially crustaceans, they all look very similar but are very different.

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There are a lot of questions arise regarding the confusion people find between Prawns and Crayfish. The main reason behind this is a similar structure and almost the same physique. 

Prawns and Crayfish belong to the same family and are crustaceans but have many differences, including their production countries.

People prefer one over the other when it comes to food due to even differences in taste between them.

Prawns and crayfish have different tastes, and prawns are smaller than Crayfish.

Key Takeaways

  1. Prawns and crayfish are both crustaceans, but they belong to different families.
  2. Prawns are larger and have longer legs, while crayfish have shorter legs and claws.
  3. Prawns are typically found in saltwater, while crayfish are freshwater creatures.

Prawn vs Crayfish

Prawns and Crayfish differ because prawns are saltwater crustaceans, and crayfish are freshwater crustaceans. Though they may look the same, they have tons of differences if one does not look very closely. One such noticeable difference can be seen in their process of reproduction.

Prawn vs Crayfish

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Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonPrawnCrayfish
PhysiqueThese are sized larger than Shrimps but are smaller than Crayfish.Crayfish are usually bigger than prawns.
Alternate namePrawns are also called large shrimp.Crayfish are also known as Crawfish and Crawdads in different parts of the globe.
Type of CrustaceanPrawns are saltwater Crustaceans, mainly found in the sea and oceans.Crayfish are freshwater Crustacean which is found in freshwaters like rivers and streams.
FamiliesPrawns are classified into seven families: Two in Sergestoidea and five in Penaeoidea.Crayfish are classified into three families: One in the Southern Hemisphere and two in the Northern Hemisphere.
Taste Prawns are sweeter than Crayfish, and people worldwide prefer prawns over Crayfish.Crayfish have a bit of salty, a bit sweet, and a bit of mineral taste present. Many people enjoy having it but are not as popular as prawns.
FertilizationPrawns release their eggs into the water for the process of fertilization.Crayfish release their eggs on their pleopods.
FossilsPrawn fossils can be found as old as 250 million. Crayfish fossil records 30 million or newer.

What is Prawn?

Prawn is the common name used for small aquatic crustaceans.  It has an exoskeleton and 10 legs and is the number of order Decapoda.

After many years of confusion and a scientific lack of data, Shrimp and Prawn are used almost interchangeably these days.

However, there is a considerable difference between Prawns and Shrimp too. 

The Exo or outer skeleton feature of the Prawn does not let it bend at all; hence, prawns are nearly straight.

Prawns have their claws on three pairs of legs and have the largest pincers present on the second pair of legs. Prawn release their fertilized eggs into the water, making them grow.

If we talk about taste, prawn has a little sweet taste associated with it, and it is seafood. People around the world love to eat it in various versions and dishes.

The Indian Prawn, also called Fenneropenaeus, is one of the main commercial species in the world.

Prawns are largely found in the Indo-west Pacific, India, South-eastern Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, northern Australia, and southern China.

Prawn

What is Crayfish?

Crayfish is a nocturnal freshwater crustacean. It has somewhat resemblance with small lobsters, and it is found mostly in rivers and streams.

Crayfish are usually much meatier and have a strong flavor in them. They are a bit salty, a bit sweet, and have a slight mineral flavor. 

Crayfish do not have pincers and have feather-like gills. Their fossils can be found for about 30 million years. Crayfish fertilize their eggs inside their body.

They feed on plants and animals, either living or decomposing. These are susceptible to environmental disturbances like acidification and acid rain. 

Crayfish are used as pets and are kept in freshwater aquariums and can literally do anything and thus are omnivores.

Being omnivores in nature, they can cause ecological damage when introduced to non-native bodies of water. 

Crayfish

Main Differences Between Prawn and Crayfish

  1. Prawns are usually larger than Shrimp and thus also called large Shrimp. On the other hand, Crayfish has many names, like Crawfish, Crawdads, Freshwater lobsters, mudbugs, yabbies, and many more.
  2. Prawns are saltwater and generally found in seas and oceans, whereas Crayfish are freshwater crustaceans and usually can be found in rivers and streams.
  3. Prawns are classified into seven families, two in Sergestoidea and five in Penaeoida. Crayfish, however, are classified into three families only: one in the Southern hemisphere and two in the Northern hemisphere.
  4. When we talk about taste, Prawns are sweeter than Crayfish. Crayfish have a strong taste with salty, sweet, and mineral types of flavour, while Prawns are on the sweeter side. Most of the time, people Prawns prefer over Crayfish.
  5. Prawns release their eggs into the water for fertilization, while Crayfish release their eggs on pleopods.
  6. The oldest prawn fossils are 250 million years old, while Crayfish fossils are as old as 30 million. 
Difference Between Prawn and Crayfish
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0044848676900557
  2. https://www.kmae-journal.org/articles/kmae/abs/2009/03/kmae09055/kmae09055.html
  3. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10641269509388566
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