Difference Between Shrimp and Lobster (With Table)

Sea is home to numerous species of aquatic animals. They differ in physical appearance, eating habits as well as adaptations and range from the humungous whale to the tiniest fishes. While some species are easily distinguished by their appearance, others somewhere resemble each other in appearance. Two of such species are Shrimp and Lobster. While to some people, they may seem similar, but they have quite a lot of differences.

Shrimp vs Lobster

The difference between Shrimp and Lobster is that Shrimp can usually grow up to 10 centimetres, whereas, Lobster can go up to a maximum of 50 centimetres in length. Shrimps have long tails and are found in muddy bases along with fresh and salty water, while lobsters reside only in muddy and salty water. Shrimps have more colour variations as compared to lobsters.

The decapod crustaceans are a species found in the oceans, which are collectively known as Shrimps. These sea animals consist of long tails and are smaller in size than lobsters. They reside mostly in muddy bases and are brilliant swimmers. They cannot go beyond 20 centimetres in body length. They are a great source of protein and famous seafood.

On the other hand, Lobsters are marine crustaceans but with large bodies rather than long tails. They reside mostly in salty water. They can reach a maximum of up to 50 centimetres in body length, which makes them one of the largest invertebrates of the sea. They also contain healthy supplements but are way too pricy.

Comparison Table Between Shrimp and Lobster

Parameters of Comparison ShrimpLobster
Known asShrimps are known as decapod crustaceans. Lobsters are known as marine crustaceans.
SizeThey are usually around 10 cm in length and cannot go above 20 cm. They can reach around 50 cm in length.
SpeciesThere are around 125 species of these sea animals. The number of species here is not more than 48.
HabitatThey live in muddy, fresh, and salty water. They are found in muddy and salty water only.
LocomotionThey swim. They crawl or walk to move.
EggsThey leave their eggs in the sea. They carry the eggs with themselves.
RichnessThey are extremely rich in protein. They are not as rich as the shrimps.
Pricing They are priced comparably lower. They are extremely pricy.

What is Shrimp?

One of the most demanded and commonly consumed seafood are the Shrimps. They are very diversified, with more than 125 species. These species are classified under several genera. Along with being great swimmers, shrimps also have the ability to survive a huge amount of toxicity, which acts as an advantage for them against their predators.

Coming to the physical appearance, shrimps possess long tails and can usually have a body length of 8 to 10 centimetres. They have a cephalothorax, which is formed by the fusion of their head and thorax. The species show variations in terms of a few physical characteristics, including body colour, lengths of antennae and legs etc. While some have the usual length, others can go around 20 centimetres.

Shrimps are a great source of protein. They are also rich in fats, calcium and iodine. This is why they are highly preferred as seafood. Although they cost less as compared to the lobsters, people pay in abundance for them because of their nutritional values.

Even several zooplankton, including fishes to whales, tend to intake shrimps as a primary diet. Shrimps are extremely great in taste and also ecologically abundant. Interestingly, these crustaceans are found in almost every type of water, including fresh, muddy and salty. They move from one place to another by swimming.

What is Lobster?

As famous seafood as the shrimps comes another species known as Lobsters. There are around 48 species of lobster classified under 12 genera. Their types include clawed, slipper and spiny lobsters. Instead of swimming, the lobsters crawl or walk. For this, they have 10 walking legs, three of which are claws. These animals reside in salty and muddy water.

Lobsters are way larger than shrimps when it comes to body length. They can go as long as 50 centimetres. They have great sensory organs. There is an exoskeleton made up of chitin, which is very hard. It is shed when a lobster is able to grow its body length. The shed exoskeleton acts as a source of calcium for them, and they consume it.

Even the longest shrimps are smaller than normal lobsters. This is how big these sea animals are! Their body colour varies depending on many factors. Unlike the lobsters, the shrimps shed their exoskeleton under the natural growth process.

Lobsters are omnivorous and feed on phytoplankton as well as zooplankton. They are also consumed commonly as seafood by people. Their taste varies according to their food intake. They are priced at extremely high rates. They are also rich in protein but not as much as shrimps.

Main Differences Between Shrimp and Lobster

  1. Shrimps are decapod crustaceans, while lobsters are marine crustaceans.
  2. Lobsters are way larger than shrimps in terms of body length.
  3. Shrimps have more than double the number of species of lobsters.
  4. Shrimps can live in freshwater, while lobsters cannot.
  5. Lobsters crawl, whereas shrimps swim in order to move from one place to another.
  6. Shrimps are richer in protein as compared to lobsters.
  7. Lobsters carry their eggs, while shrimps do not carry their eggs with them. Rather they disperse them into the sea.


Shrimp and Lobster are close relatives, and both are crustaceans. Shrimp is decapod, while the lobster is a marine crustacean. Although they have some similarities in their bodily structures, including the antennae, head fused with the body etc., they differ in yet many criteria.

Shrimps can be found in every type of water, whereas lobsters are found only in muddy and salty water. Lobsters are big sea animals and consist of claws. While shrimps are comparatively smaller and great swimmers.

Both species are very famously consumed as seafood. Although they are heavily priced, their demands remain high.

They are ecologically rich and balanced. This is why they are a great food source that provides nutrients in abundance.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0147651318303348
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jsfa.1619
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