The difference between a prawn and a shrimp is rather hard to discern specially after being cooked. However, while they may be quite similar in terms of appearance, they belong to different species. While a shrimp belongs to the Decapoda order and the suborder Pleocyemata, shrimp belong to the order Decapoda and the suborder Dendrobranchiata.
Prawns are considered to be larger whereas shrimp are considered to be much smaller in size. The body structures of the two species also vary significantly. The body of both a shrimp and a prawn consists of three parts such as the head, the thorax and the abdomen. And yet, while the thorax overlaps the other two body segments of the shrimp, in the case of a prawn, it is the head that overlaps the thorax after which and the thorax overlaps the abdomen. The gills of a prawn and a shrimp are also very different. While a shrimp possesses branching gills, prawns are characteristic of their lameller gills which demonstrate a plate-like structure.
Shrimp is popularly harvested in coastal plantations with United States standing as a rather prominent figure in the industry. Prawns on the other hands are mostly farmed in Asian countries. Some common varieties of shrimps harvested for consumption include spot, pink, white, and brown and northern shrimp whereas some popular varieties of prawn include tiger, deep water, bay, and king prawns.