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Shrimp Facts

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The southern hemisphere is home to shrimp, a crustacean that resembles shrimp in some ways. This slightly different fish has a different gill structure than a shrimp. They belong to the same animal family as lobsters and crabs. They live in calm waters, and some species are found in the northern hemisphere.

4 Prawn Facts

  • Shrimp is the name of a small aquatic crustacean
  • There are 13 types of shrimp
  • Females lay hundreds of thousands of eggs
  • They can change color based on where they are
Prawn 1

© AZ-Animals.com

scientific name

Although prawn is the common name for this shrimp-like animal, its scientific name is Dendrobranchiata , which belongs to the class of crustaceans. It is usually 1 to 1.5 centimeters long. Most of them live in fresh water, which helps them thrive.

Evolution and Origin

Fossils of a shrimp-like animal called the unicorn shrimp found in China during the Cambrian period, which lived about 518 million years ago, are thought to be the ancient ancestor of arthropods, which include prawns. Kylinxia zhangi is a very rare species with unique features of a true arthropod.


Largest Shrimp - Giant Tiger Shrimp
There are 200 subspecies of shrimp.

© Koy_Hipster/Shutterstock.com

There are a total of 200 subspecies of shrimp. The first subspecies of this crustacean discovered by scientists is the giant river prawn . The scientific name of this subspecies is Machrobachium rosenbergii. It lives in subtropical and tropical waters. Macrobrachium rosenbergii is found throughout the Indo-Pacific region. While most of these subspecies live in freshwater, some also live in saltwater estuaries.

Palaemon, also known as common shrimp , lives in ponds, rivers and streams in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Melicertus kerathurus or caramote shrimp, found in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic. The Indian prawn ( Fenneropenaeus indicus ) is one of the largest commercial shrimp species.

The word shrimp dates back to 15th century England. At the time, the animal was called prane, prayne or praine. Today, the word prawn is most commonly heard in Ireland and Great Britain.

appearance and behavior

Shrimp can change color under the right circumstances.

© Syrist/Creative Commons

Shrimp are usually black, pink, white or gray. When a Palaemon is fully grown, it's usually between 6 and 8 inches long, or the size of a GI Joe action figure. When caught, the fish has a light blue color. It has a cylindrical and elongated body. From side to side, their bodies are compressed a little bit.

Palaemon's body has two parts. One part in front and one part in back. Its cephalothorax has no joints. That means they have six pairs of appendages, which are any part of the body that attaches to its main part, and those parts don't have joints, like humans have joints in their knees that help them bend.

The rear of the Palaemon shrimp has a jointed abdomen, the exact opposite of its front. The abdomen sticks out from the rest of the invertebrate's body. Their abdomen has six distinct sections. All six sections have their own set of appendages. The appendages are located ventrally. This is the lower half of their body. In humans, this is where the liver is located.

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A part of the abdomen is on the inside of the shrimp body, and a part is on the outside. On the outside is a telson. The telson is located on its tail. At the other end of the abdomen is the cephalothorax. This is where the head meets the chest. The chest is surrounded by the abdomen and neck. At the base of the body, it has thirteen pairs of appendages.

In 2014, fishermen off the coast of Florida found a record-breaking 18-inch prawn, making it the largest shrimp ever caught and recorded.

It is common to find this large invertebrate alone. Prawns avoid exposure to light as they are sensitive to light. Tiger prawns, however, have been active. When it comes to freshwater shrimp, they are happiest living in shallow water where they have access to mud.

Shrimp can change color under the right circumstances. They can do this because the pigment in their skin sits just below the shell. The cells in their skin turn them blue, yellow, red, yellow-white and tan. The color they turn depends on how many cells of that color they have in their body. These cells give prawns their light-colored blotches, while deep-water prawns turn bright red or even scarlet.

Deepwater prawns turn bright red due to their position in the water. No color can be seen, so they appear black. This makes them harder for predators to spot.


Largest Shrimp - California Spot Shrimp
Shrimp are native to the northern regions of Australia.


Northern Australia is home to bananas, brown tigers and western prawns. They are larger in these regions than in other parts of the world and choose to live in coastal waters closer to the coast. Banana prawns are also often found in the English town of Exmouth. Tiger prawns live in Shark Bay. Along the coast of Western Australia, king prawns are easy to find. They can also be found in the country's Swan River.

what do they eat

As an omnivore, this large crustacean typically feeds on plankton and carrion, which are microbes. They also eat the smallest worms, shellfish and any decaying organic matter.

When shrimp are first born, they will eat small pieces of marine plants and seaweed. When they are about a year old, they can expand their diet. Adults are scavengers and will eat what they can find. Their diet usually consists of dead fish, sand, crab and mud. Unlike other animals in the sea, they have no problem feeding on each other, and will often do so if no other food source can be found.

Shrimp that live in cold water avoid eating sand or mud. This means that the veins of king and tiger prawns look in stark contrast to cold water prawns. Because cold-water prawns do not eat sand and mud, but tiger prawns and prawns do, the blood vessels in cold-water prawns are clear.

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Predators and Threats

Both juvenile and adult shrimp are victims of predators. Although they can fall victim at any time, they are most vulnerable during the larval stage of development. Back then they were often killed by bottom-dwelling fish such as squid and cuttlefish.

Reproduction, Babies, and Lifespan

Largest Shrimp - Freshwater Shrimp
Female shrimp are larger than male shrimp.

© Yod Jedsada/Shutterstock.com

Adult females of this species are larger than adult males. It is easy to tell if they are male or female. Males have an organ called the pestana between their legs. Females have a thelycum, which is what allows them to mate with males.

The ovaries of adult female shrimp are visible. They are located on her head and tail. Before the ovaries mature, they are pale yellow or olive in color. As the ovaries mature, they turn orange-brown. For a pair of prawns to breed, the shell of the male shrimp must be hard, and the shell of the female shrimp must be soft.

The eggs are fertilized while inside the female. Spawning is believed to occur immediately after the eggs are fertilized. Females can become pregnant multiple times during the mating season. Females of different sizes and species are capable of carrying different numbers of eggs. How often they spawn depends on where they live. In Queensland, Australia, Easter king soldiers can lay eggs at any time of the year. Prawns that live elsewhere will not spawn in winter.

They follow three types of lifecycles, each of which is different. These types are Estuarine, Marine, and Mixed. In seawater, the estuary life cycle is complete. One subspecies that live in this life cycle is the greasy back shrimp, Metapenaeus bennettae . In seawater, Royal Red Shrimp live a marine life cycle.

The hybrid life cycle is different because it is the life cycle that the shrimp follow. During this life cycle, females release fertilized eggs on the ocean floor. The eggs will remain on the ocean floor until the babies are ready to be born. Babies go through this cycle until they grow into adults. The hybrid life cycle occurs over a two to three week period.

Overall, this creature has a short life cycle. The average lifespan of school shrimp is one year. Eastern King and other larger shrimp can live up to two years old. In some cases, they can even live up to three years.

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about the author

I was born in New York, got my journalism degree from Boston University, took a detour to San Diego, and am now back in New York. I love traveling with my husband, but always miss my favorite little Peanuts, half Chihuahua/half Jack Russell, all the trouble. We are certified to dive so one day we can dive with great white sharks and I hope I can swim with orcas too. If my house fits it, I'll add a pig – or a sloth.

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Prawn FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is a shrimp and what is the difference between a shrimp and a shrimp?

Many people are confused about the difference between prawns and prawns. Although in some parts of the word people think they are the same animal, they are not. What they have in common is that they both have an exoskeleton and 10 legs. They also look alike, and both live close to the ocean floor.

Both pawns and shrimp live in fresh and salt water. However, prawns mainly cling to fresh water. Shrimp mainly stick to salt water. Other differences include the different shape of their gills. Shrimp bodies are slightly curly, while shrimp bodies are completely straight.

It is easy to distinguish shrimp from prawns by looking at their legs. Shrimp's front legs are their largest. The shrimp's second pair of legs are the largest. Shrimp have three pairs of legs with claws. Another difference is that shrimp let their fertilized eggs grow in the water, while shrimp hide their eggs under their bodies until baby shrimp are born.

Are shrimp herbivores, carnivores or omnivores?

Shrimp are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and other animals.

To which kingdom do prawns belong?

Shrimp belongs to the animal kingdom.

What door do prawns belong to?

Shrimp belong to the phylum Arthropoda.

What family do prawns belong to?

Shrimp belong to the family Dendrobranchiata.

What order do prawns belong to?

Shrimp belong to the decapod order.

What type of mulch do Prawns have?

Shrimp are covered in shells.

What type of habitat do prawns live in?

Shrimp live in rocky coastal waters.

what do shrimp eat

Shrimp eat fish, insects and plankton.

Who are the natural enemies of shrimp?

Natural enemies of shrimp include humans, fish and squid.

What is the average litter size of shrimp?

The average litter size of prawns is 100.

Any interesting facts about prawns?

Prawns are closely related to crabs and lobsters!

What is the scientific name of shrimp?

The scientific name of prawns is Dendrobranchiata.

What is the lifespan of shrimp?

Shrimp can live for 2 to 4 years.

What is the optimal pH for shrimp?

The optimum pH for prawns is between 6.5 and 9.0.

What is the Difference Between Shrimp and Crawfish?

The main differences between prawns and crayfish are appearance, habitat, and diet.

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