Are prawns and shrimps the same thing or are they different? Basically, I think they're the same but one of my friends was arguing that they're similar but definitely not the same thing and they differ in size.
Biologically speaking, they are actually different species, but the names are so commonly used interchangeably as to completely muddle the distinctions. For example, spot prawns are actually shrimp while ridgeback shrimp are actually prawns.
Prawns have claws on two of their five pairs of legs, shrimp have claws on three of their five pairs of legs. Their gills and body shape are different too.
As far as cooking them goes, they are identical and interchangeable.