Difference Between Prawn and Lobster

Prawn vs Lobster

Prawn and lobster being closely related animal in the same taxonomic group. Both these animals make extremely delicious dishes and are very expensive. It is a commonly committed mistake that lobsters are identified as large size prawns or the prawns being understood as small size lobsters. Despite both of them belong to the same taxonomic class and order, the families are different. The frequency of moulting and some other physical characteristics are different between prawns and lobsters. This article intends to discuss those differences to provide a clear picture about distinguishing one from the other.


Prawns are any of the species that are classified under the Suborder: Dendrobranchiata of Order: Decapoda, Classs: Crustacea. There were 10 families of prawns, but three of those are extinct by now, and the seven extant families include 540 species of prawns. There are fossil records of prawns, and the oldest one dates back to the Devonian period (about 420 million years ago). Prawns could vary their size from small to large while the largest one (Panaeus monodon) can reach up to 450 grams and 33 centimetres of length. The whole body of a prawn is slightly flattened laterally, and the head has stalked eyes. The pair of antennae is long about two times of their body length. The first three pairs of their ten legs are clawed, but none of those claws is prominent as in lobsters. Prawns have their exoskeleton formed over the cephalothorax and the abdomen, and the frequency of shedding it is very high (about twice a month) as they grow fast in their early life. Prawns are planktivorous and feed in small bits of plankton. Their distribution in the world is different with most species are found near equatorial waters. However, depending on the quality food that the prawns eat, the taste of the prawns is varied.


Lobsters are marine crustaceans with large bodies. They are sometimes found around brackish waters, as well. Lobsters are classified under the Family: Nephropidae of Order: Decapoda and Class: Malacostraca. There are many types of them known as clawed lobsters, spiny lobsters, and slipper lobsters. They all sum up to make 48 extant species described under 12 genera. As the name of the included taxonomic order indicates, Decapoda, each lobster has 10 walking legs with the first one being clawed. They have a good, efficient sensory system with antennae and antennules, which is important especially for those living in brackish water. Lobsters have a very hard exoskeleton made of chitin. Their body size could be as high as 50 centimetres long, which is a very large size for an invertebrate. Lobsters have a worldwide distribution, living in all the seas except in the polar waters. They mostly prefer to live in the continental shelf including rocky, muddy, or sandy bottoms. Their hard and calcified exoskeleton is shed when they are ready to grow their body size, and this happens three to four times a year until they are about six years old, and after that they shed only once a year. This exoskeleton is a good source of calcium for them to harden their skin, and they eat it after shedding. However, they are mainly omnivorous in feeding habits and eat both phytoplankton and zooplankton. Therefore, the lobsters taste differently depending on what they eat, when they are cooked. It is a highly priced food both as raw meat as well as cooked food.


What is the difference between Prawn and Lobster?

• Lobster is larger than any species of prawn.

• Lobster has a pair of clawed forelegs, which is the most conspicuous feature of their body whereas, in prawns, the antennae are the long appendage of the body. However, the extra-large foreleg of lobsters is more pronouncing than the antennae of prawns.

• The carapace of lobster is much harder than the exoskeleton of prawn.

• The shedding frequency of exoskeleton of prawns is higher than in lobsters.

• Prawns are more diversified than lobsters.