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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.

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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 three of their five pairs of legs, shrimp have claws on two of their five pairs of legs. Their gills and body shape are different too.

As far as cooking them goes, they are virtually identical and interchangeable.

shrimp prawn graphic

Source

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    Great answer, being Australian I thought it was mainly a terminology difference but I can see now looking at the diagrams I've never actually bought any shrimp at least not fresh. – PeterJ Jul 1 '14 at 9:20
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    Is there any difference in taste? – Divi Jul 1 '14 at 10:05
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    @Divi Nope, none that I can sense anyway. To me the thing that influences flavor the most is whether they are wild or farmed. I find the wild to be far superior. – Jolenealaska Jul 1 '14 at 10:06
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This is what I came across. These two differ in their:

  1. Physical structure: Prawn has three pairs of legs while shrimp has only two (easy way to differentiate)
  2. As far as nutrition goes, they are almost the same with prawn having 20g of proteins & shrimp having 24g of proteins.
  3. As far as taste goes shrimp tastes buttery while prawn tastes a bit like chicken

These two links will give you more descriptive answers:
Prawn vs. Shrimp
Difference Between Prawn & Shrimp

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    no, one does not have 2 pairs of legs and the other 3 pairs. both are decapods (10 legs). the difference is "claw-like" legs. shrimp have two sets of claw-like legs, while prawns have three. prawns are almost exclusively found in fresh water, while shrimp are saltwater creatures. – circe801 Oct 31 at 9:54

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