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shrimp/prawn

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18:37 Jul 7, 2003
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
Science
English term or phrase: shrimp/prawn
What's the difference between a shrimp and a prawn.

Thank you.
Michał Szewczyk
Local time: 11:16
English translation:Good question!
Explanation:
I hope you find the explanations below of some use.

HTH

Sheila


What are prawns?

* They are small 'crustaceans' (like crabs and lobsters) found in both marine and fresh water environments around the world. Two main groups of prawn are produced commercially: small 'caridean' prawns (from tropical and temperate waters) and larger 'penaeid' prawns (from tropical and subtropical waters).


What's the difference between a prawn and a shrimp?

* The distinction between prawns and shrimps can be confusing. In some countries the bigger penaeid species are referred to as 'prawns' and smaller carideans as 'shrimp'. In other parts of the world (such as some areas of the USA), this differentiation is the other way around. As many people use the words shrimp and prawn interchangeably, EJF makes no distinction between the two.


Shrimp or Prawn?
There is often confusion regarding the difference between a shrimp and a prawn. Physically they look very similar but there is one sure way to tell them apart. In shrimps or carideans the side plate of the second segment of the abdomen overlaps the segments in front and behind. Prawns, most of which belong to the family Penaeidae of the group Dendrobranchiata, have all the abdominal side plates overlapping tile-like from the front. A more fundamental difference but one impossible to appreciate in a single specimen is that female prawns do not brood eggs but shed them into the currents where they develop independently. It would therefore make sense to call all member s of the Penaeidae "prawns" and members of the Caridean "shrimps" and this is what most Australians do. King prawns and banana prawns are names understood in this continent for penaeids sold frozen at the markets. The tiny shrimps bought in cans or froz en are imported carideans. Confusion arises when we hear Americans refer to prawns as "shrimp".

So what's the difference between shrimp and prawns? Mainly a linguistic one. A United Nation's catalogue explains:


...in Great Britain the term "shrimp" is the more general of the two, and is the only term used for Crangonidae and most smaller species. "Prawn" is the more special of the two names, being used solely for Palaemondiae and larger forms, never for the very small ones.

In North America the name "prawn" is practically obsolete and is almost entirely replaced by the word "shrimp" (used for even the largest species, which may be called "jumbo shrimp"). If the word "prawn" is used at all in America it is attached to small species.


http://www.soupsong.com/fshrimp.html


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 12 mins (2003-07-07 18:49:41 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

The difference between a prawn and a shrimp is, according to Victor Gordon in Prawnography, merely one of size. \'There are hundred of different species of prawns Decapoda natantia, most of them too small for human consumption, too rare, or too hard to extract from their deep sea retreats. However, some 340 species are reckoned by the Food and Agriculture Organisation to have commercial potential......edible Decapoda natantia range in length from under one inch to over one foot. The smallest, those up to, say, three inches long, are called shrimps in England.......For culinary purposes, prawns can be divided into three catagories - small (shrimps), medium and large. This is puerile taxonomy but pratical gastronomy\'.

http://www.foodloversbritain.com/organisations/organisation-...
Selected response from:

Sheila Hardie
Spain
Local time: 11:16
Grading comment
Thank you very much Sheila.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +6'scientific' explanation
jerrie
3 +5Good question!
Sheila Hardie
4->
Elenacb


  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +6
'scientific' explanation


Explanation:
See link

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Note added at 2003-07-07 18:42:10 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Shrimp or Prawn?
There is often confusion regarding the difference between a shrimp and a prawn. Physically they look very similar but there is one sure way to tell them apart. In shrimps or carideans the side plate of the second segment of the abdomen overlaps the segments in front and behind. Prawns, most of which belong to the family Penaeidae of the group Dendrobranchiata, have all the abdominal side plates overlapping tile-like from the front. A more fundamental difference but one impossible to appreciate in a single specimen is that female prawns do not brood eggs but shed them into the currents where they develop independently. It would therefore make sense to call all member s of the Penaeidae \"prawns\" and members of the Caridean \"shrimps\" and this is what most Australians do. King prawns and banana prawns are names understood in this continent for penaeids sold frozen at the markets. The tiny shrimps bought in cans or froz en are imported carideans. Confusion arises when we hear Americans refer to prawns as \"shrimp\".




    Reference: http://www.museum.vic.gov.au/crust/caribiol.html
jerrie
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:16
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 773

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  DGK T-I: in everyday use by non-scientific Britons, shrimps are small and prawns are bigger, although that doesn't necessarily reflect the species they actually belong to.
5 mins

agree  Catherine Norton: Right. If you go into a dining room and are served creatures with no carapace, and/or you cannot watch them mate, you decide the small one is a shrimp and the large one is a prawn.
10 mins
  -> Yeah...my basic understanding is shrimp is smaller (slang for small person - shrimp/small-fry), and prawns are larger!

agree  Сергей Лузан
1 hr

agree  J. Leo
4 hrs

agree  Fuad Yahya: Very informative. I was under the impression that it was merely a US/UK distinction. I have rarely hear of prawns in this Gulf of Mexico region, except at Indian restaurants or from individuals whose English was acquired outside the US.
8 hrs
  -> Thanks

agree  Attila Piróth
12 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
->


Explanation:
There is often confusion regarding the difference between a shrimp and a prawn. Physically they look very similar but there is one sure way to tell them apart. In shrimps or carideans the side plate of the second segment of the abdomen overlaps the segments in front and behind. Prawns, most of which belong to the family Penaeidae of the group Dendrobranchiata, have all the abdominal side plates overlapping tile-like from the front. A more fundamental difference but one impossible to appreciate in a single specimen is that female prawns do not brood eggs but shed them into the currents where they develop independently. It would therefore make sense to call all member s of the Penaeidae "prawns" and members of the Caridean "shrimps" and this is what most Australians do. King prawns and banana prawns are names understood in this continent for penaeids sold frozen at the markets. The tiny shrimps bought in cans or froz en are imported carideans. Confusion arises when we hear Americans refer to prawns as "shrimp".




    Reference: http://www.museum.vic.gov.au/crust/caribiol.html
Elenacb
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:16
Native speaker of: Native in SlovakSlovak
PRO pts in pair: 20
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +5
Good question!


Explanation:
I hope you find the explanations below of some use.

HTH

Sheila


What are prawns?

* They are small 'crustaceans' (like crabs and lobsters) found in both marine and fresh water environments around the world. Two main groups of prawn are produced commercially: small 'caridean' prawns (from tropical and temperate waters) and larger 'penaeid' prawns (from tropical and subtropical waters).


What's the difference between a prawn and a shrimp?

* The distinction between prawns and shrimps can be confusing. In some countries the bigger penaeid species are referred to as 'prawns' and smaller carideans as 'shrimp'. In other parts of the world (such as some areas of the USA), this differentiation is the other way around. As many people use the words shrimp and prawn interchangeably, EJF makes no distinction between the two.


Shrimp or Prawn?
There is often confusion regarding the difference between a shrimp and a prawn. Physically they look very similar but there is one sure way to tell them apart. In shrimps or carideans the side plate of the second segment of the abdomen overlaps the segments in front and behind. Prawns, most of which belong to the family Penaeidae of the group Dendrobranchiata, have all the abdominal side plates overlapping tile-like from the front. A more fundamental difference but one impossible to appreciate in a single specimen is that female prawns do not brood eggs but shed them into the currents where they develop independently. It would therefore make sense to call all member s of the Penaeidae "prawns" and members of the Caridean "shrimps" and this is what most Australians do. King prawns and banana prawns are names understood in this continent for penaeids sold frozen at the markets. The tiny shrimps bought in cans or froz en are imported carideans. Confusion arises when we hear Americans refer to prawns as "shrimp".

So what's the difference between shrimp and prawns? Mainly a linguistic one. A United Nation's catalogue explains:


...in Great Britain the term "shrimp" is the more general of the two, and is the only term used for Crangonidae and most smaller species. "Prawn" is the more special of the two names, being used solely for Palaemondiae and larger forms, never for the very small ones.

In North America the name "prawn" is practically obsolete and is almost entirely replaced by the word "shrimp" (used for even the largest species, which may be called "jumbo shrimp"). If the word "prawn" is used at all in America it is attached to small species.


http://www.soupsong.com/fshrimp.html


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 12 mins (2003-07-07 18:49:41 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

The difference between a prawn and a shrimp is, according to Victor Gordon in Prawnography, merely one of size. \'There are hundred of different species of prawns Decapoda natantia, most of them too small for human consumption, too rare, or too hard to extract from their deep sea retreats. However, some 340 species are reckoned by the Food and Agriculture Organisation to have commercial potential......edible Decapoda natantia range in length from under one inch to over one foot. The smallest, those up to, say, three inches long, are called shrimps in England.......For culinary purposes, prawns can be divided into three catagories - small (shrimps), medium and large. This is puerile taxonomy but pratical gastronomy\'.

http://www.foodloversbritain.com/organisations/organisation-...


    Reference: http://www.ejfoundation.org/shrimp/shrimp_faq.html
    Reference: http://www.museum.vic.gov.au/crust/caribiol.html
Sheila Hardie
Spain
Local time: 11:16
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 75
Grading comment
Thank you very much Sheila.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  DGK T-I: & in the UK non-scientific speechmostly prawns when sold in the shop(much imported of course) and shrimp when talking about the actual local sea creatures.'But Dublin bay prawns'.
9 mins
  -> thanks for the explanation, Giuli:-)

disagree  Catherine Norton: I live in North America and regularly hear and see the word "prawn".
11 mins
  -> maybe it depends on the state? - my US boyfriend says he would mainly use shrimp - even jumbo shrimp :-) and has hardly ever heard the word prawn being used (unlike in the UK where it is used a lot))

agree  uparis: Wow ! All you've ever wanted to know about shrimp and prawn !
1 hr
  -> and I STILL don't really know the difference - crazy, eh?! :-)

agree  Refugio: In the US prawn is more of a menu word in restaurants than used in common speech.
4 hrs
  -> thanks, Ruth - my boyfriend said it may also be a West coast (prawn) and East coast (shrimp) thing in the USA

agree  J. Leo: I agree with Ruth too.
4 hrs
  -> thanks, James:-)

agree  Irene Chernenko: The Australian expression "throw another prawn on the barbie" is rendered as "throw another SHRIMP on the barbie" by people in the US.
4 hrs
  -> thanks, Irene:-)

agree  AhmedAMS
25 days
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