Prawn

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A prawn is an edible crustacean, similar to a shrimp, that belongs to the sub-order Dendrobranchiata.


Misuse

The term prawn is often misused. Although they do look similar to a shrimp, they have different gill structures and are of completely different orders. In the United States 1911 Encyclopedia, the term prawn was incorrectly defined as any fresh-water shrimp or prawn. The term has also been falsely connected to the Latin term perna, meaning ham-shaped shellfish. The Old Italian word, perna, actually referred only to shellfish that produced nacre, or mother of pearl.

The term is used ‘’incorrectly’’ by the commercial farming industry as well, the words shrimp and prawn being used interchangeably. In the United States, the term shrimp is used most often on restaurant menus. In the United Kingdom, the term prawn is more widely used, however use of either is common. In Australia, the word prawn is used almost exclusively. (Paul Hogan's use of the phrase, ‘’I'll slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for you’’, in a television advertisement, was intended to make what he was saying easier for Americans to understand, and deliberately varied from that region’s standard wording.)


Prawn farming

Until 2000, the only species commercially farmed was the Giant River Prawn. Since then, China has begun farming the Oriental River Prawn in large quantities, and India farms a small amount of Monsoon River Prawn.. In nature, there are about 200 species in the genus Macrobrachium, occurring throughout the tropics, and subtropics, on all continents except Europe.