Shrimp

The term shrimp is used to refer to some decapod crustaceans, although the exact animals covered can vary.  Under the broader definition, shrimp may be synonymous with prawn, covering stalk-eyed swimming crustaceans with long narrow muscular tails (abdomens), long whiskers (antennae), and slender legs.  They swim forward by paddling with swimmerets on the underside of their abdomens. Crabs and lobsters have strong walking legs, whereas shrimp have thin fragile legs which they use primarily for perching.  Shrimp are widespread and abundant. They can be found feeding near the seafloor on most coasts and estuaries, as well as in rivers and lakes. To escape predators, some species flip off the seafloor and dive into the sediment.  They usually live from one to seven years.  Shrimp are often solitary, though they can form large schools during the spawning season.  There are thousands of species, and usually there is a species adapted to any particular habitat. Any small crustacean which resembles a shrimp tends to be called one.

They play important roles in the food chain and are an important food source for larger animals ranging from fish to whales. The muscular tails of many shrimp are edible to humans, and they are widely caught and farmed for human consumption. Commercial shrimp species support an industry worth 50 billion dollars a year,  the total commercial production of shrimp was nearly 10 million tonnes. Shrimp farming became more prevalent during the 1980s, particularly in China, and by 2007 the harvest from shrimp farms exceeded the capture of wild shrimp. There are significant issues with excessive bycatch when shrimp are captured in the wild, and with pollution damage done to estuaries when they are used to support shrimp farming.

Difference between Shrimp, Lobsters and Crabs

Shrimp are slender with long muscular abdomens. They look somewhat like small lobsters, but not like crabs. The abdomens of crabs are small and short, whereas the abdomens of lobsters and shrimp are large and long.

Lobsters are an intermediate evolutionary development between shrimp and crabs. They look somewhat like large versions of shrimp. Clawed lobster has large claws while spiny lobsters don’t, but have instead spiny antennae and a spiny carapace. Some of the biggest decapods are lobsters. Like crabs, lobsters have robust legs and are highly adapted for walking on the seafloor, though they do not walk sideways.

Crabs evolved from early shrimp, though they do not look like shrimp. Unlike shrimp, their abdomen is small, and they have short antennae and a short carapace that is wide and flat. They have prominent grasping claws as their front pair of limbs. Crabs are adapted for walking on the seafloor. They have robust legs and usually move about the seafloor by walking sideways. They have pleopods, but they use them as an intromittent organ or to hold egg broods, and not for swimming. Whereas shrimp and lobsters escape predators by lobstering, crabs cling to the seafloor and burrow into sediment. Compared to shrimp and lobsters, the carapaces of crabs are particularly heavy, hard and mineralized.They play important roles in the food chain and are an important food source for larger animals ranging from fish to whales. The muscular tails of many shrimp are edible to humans, and they are widely caught and farmed for human consumption. Commercial shrimp species support an industry worth 50 billion dollars a year,  the total commercial production of shrimp was nearly 10 million tonnes. Shrimp farming became more prevalent during the 1980s, particularly in China, and by 2007 the harvest from shrimp farms exceeded the capture of wild shrimp. There are significant issues with excessive bycatch when shrimp are captured in the wild, and with pollution damage done to estuaries when they are used to support shrimp farming.

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