What is a prawn?

What is a prawn?

There are various food items all around the world. Various people like to eat different types of foods and seafood is one of them. When considering seafood, there are various types such as shrimp, prawns, crabs, lobsters, and many more. People like to prepare these food items in various ways and they have different tastes also. They have different characteristics too. Among these various seafood types, we are going to consider prawns in this article. Because some people have some confusion with prawns, we need to give answers for them. What is a prawn? Let’s find out.


A prawn is a crustacean with long antennae and a shell that looks like a large shrimp


Prawns can be found all along North America’s Pacific coast, from Alaska to southern California. Their distribution also includes Asia, with considerable numbers off the Korean and Japanese coasts. Prawns can be found in a variety of subtidal sandy and rocky habitats at ocean depths ranging from the intertidal zone to 400 meters below, but usually at least 70 meters.


Prawns can be dark red, orange-red, or pink in color, with juveniles being green or brown. Several white lines run horizontally over their heads. They have a smooth, glossy body with a multi-segmented abdomen with a noticeable white mark on the first and fifth segments. 

They are a hermaphroditic species that begins as a male and then transforms into a female in later life. Prawns reach a maximum size of 20 cm and have a four-year lifespan. Prawns (Pandalus platyceros) are the largest of the seven commercial shrimp species found in British Columbian waters. They are all members of the Pandalidae family.

Prawns must shed their shell on a regular basis (a process known as moulting) in order to grow. Protein, calcium carbonate, and chitin make up the shell. The prawn re-absorbs most of the protein and chitin from the old shell while the new one builds beneath it, and increases water intake to create space between the body and the new shell before shedding.

A split between the carapace (the shell covering the body area) and tail allows the soft-shelled prawn to emerge from the old shell. The prawn grows into the new shell as it hardens. 

The female prawn must have a soft shell when they mate (newly moulted). A sperm capsule (spermatophore) is inserted into the female by the male. This is kept inside the female reproductive organ until the prawn is ready to spawn, at which point the eggs are fertilized.

What do prawns eat?

What is a prawn? When considering facts under this topic, it is interesting to know about foods that prawns eat. Prawns eat a variety of foods depending on where they reside. They are omnivorous. That means feeding on a variety of food of both plant and animal origin.

Prawns eat practically everything that they find edible, owing to their numerous kinds and habitats. 

Animal-based food sources found in their environment make up a substantial part of their diet.

They are benthic feeders, meaning they eat at the seafloor or at the water’s bottom. Detritus, crustaceans, mollusks, worms, insects, and other small aquatic creatures are commonly eaten by prawns. They also eat snails, shellfish, and zooplankton. 

If other food sources are scarce, prawns will often consume their own kind. Their strange feeding habits, which include picking at animal-based particles, have also been reported. That means they eat flesh and dead bodies.

Because of their omnivorous dietary habits, prawns feed on aquatic plants. Plankton, algae, grass, seaweed, and bread are all eaten by prawns. They eat plastic and sewage if they are gathered in different farms or habitats.

What prawns don’t eat?

Waste, fish poop, shrimp, and humans are not eaten by prawns. Aside from that, prawns don’t eat their own babies or poop.

How to prepare prawns for cooking?

What is a prawn? Now you know about this and it is interesting to know the preparation steps for a prawn for cooking. We have to peel the prawns if they’re still in their shells. This can be done before cooking or after cooking. 

However peeling them after cooking results in a prawn that is more juicy and flavorful. 

Hold the prawn’s body in one hand while twisting the head off with the other (this can be used to make stock). 

Turn the prawn over and pull the shell open along the length of the belly, starting at the head end and working your way down, to free the prawn (Depending on your preference, you can leave the very end of the shell on or off).

Check for a black line going down the back of the prawn once the shell has been removed. If the intestines are dark, it means they’re full. 

It’s not hazardous to eat, although it makes the prawn a bit gritty. So, it is good to use without it. 

The process of removing it is known as ‘deveining.’ Make a shallow cut down the length of the black line using a small, sharp knife, then lift it out with the knife’s tip.

Now the prawn is ready to cook.

What do cooked prawns look like?

It should be an opaque white with pink and bright red accents when cooked. This is the most accurate way to tell if prawns are fully cooked. If the prawn is gray or translucent after cooking, don’t eat it. As the prawns cook, the muscle contracts, shrinking and curling the prawns.

What are prawns good for?

It is important to know about the benefits of prawns when considering facts under the topic of “What is a prawn?” There are many health benefits of prawns.

May support weight loss

Prawns are a great source of quickly digestible, high-quality protein. It’s also low in calories and fat, making it a good fit for a weight-loss diet.

A high-protein diet aids weight loss and weight management. Protein boosts the amount of energy in your body and takes a long time to digest, resulting in more calories burned and a longer sense of fullness. 

It raises levels of appetite-suppressing hormones like GLP-1, PYY, and CCK while lowering levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin by keeping you full. As a result, people will be able to control hunger and lose weight.

Antioxidant ability

The pink color of prawns is due to a chemical called astaxanthin, which is derived from the algae that prawns consume. 

This compound has anti-inflammatory characteristics and may help prevent chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer, as well as improve skin health.

May help to lower blood pressure

While prawns have a higher than normal quantity of cholesterol, their healthy fat profile prevents them from raising cholesterol levels in the body. 

This is due to the fact that they contain nearly three times as much Omega 3 Fatty Acid as Omega 6 Fatty Acid. Foods high in Omega 3 have been linked to a lower risk of heart attacks and blood pressure, according to research.

Help to build strong bones

Prawns contain phosphorus, copper, and magnesium. They help to create strong bones.

Good for a healthy immune system

They also contain a lot of zinc, which is necessary for a strong immune system. Also, selenium, one of the most efficient antioxidants for supporting healthy cells, is abundant in prawns.

There are five valuable health benefits of prawns above. 

Also, when considering prawns, there is another name related to that. Shrimp is that name. Both shrimp and prawns have a lot in common but there are differences between them. So, here is a brief chart of it and you can use this link for a deep identification for the difference between prawns and shrimp.


What is a prawn? There are many facts about prawns under this topic in this article. So, I think now you can get a better understanding about prawns with this information. Not only about prawns, I think you have many other questions about various foods. We are here to bring those facts to you. So, stay with us and consider following us on Facebook and Instagram

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