Recently I had some shrimp scampi from a restaurant and the shrimp were unnaturally white, a very bright white, and the skin of the shrimp was a bright red, not the usual dull orange. The meat of the shrimp was quite tough, more like a lobster than a shrimp.

Is this some special species of shrimp, or was the shrimp treated by some chemical process to make it that way?

  • You say shrimp scampi, which country is this in? I take it this is breaded and deep fried, or is it the sauteed version? Did the menu say Scampi or Shrimp Scampi specifically?
    – GdD
    Commented May 18, 2018 at 8:09
  • @GdD The United States.The scampi was just linguini with shrimp on it and a butter sauce. The question is not about the dish, it is about shrimp. Commented May 18, 2018 at 11:46
  • 4
    It's relevant @DrisheenColcannon, how it's prepared may change its appearance, where you are varies what kinds of seafood may be used. For instance in the UK scampi is langoustine, not shrimp.
    – GdD
    Commented May 18, 2018 at 11:52
  • Approximately how large were these shrimp? Is it possible they were actually rock shrimp? Commented May 18, 2018 at 19:42
  • 1
    @DrisheenColcannon the difference between shrimp and rock shrimp is notable. If you were getting 21-24 (aka "jumbo") rock shrimp you would know Commented May 18, 2018 at 20:53

1 Answer 1


Shrimp skin color depends on the presence of several pigments, the main ones are blue and pink carotenoids. That make shrimps to have a wide variety of shades depending on the subspecies, feeding, location, etc.

When cooked, blue carotenoids dissapear, leaving just the pink pigments wich transform to orange shades.

The final color of the cooked shrimps depend on the original pigments.

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