True shrimp are small, swimming, decapod crustaceans classified in the infraorder Caridea, found widely around the world in both fresh and salt water.
A number of more or less unrelated crustaceans also have the word "shrimp" in their common name. Examples are the mantis shrimp and the opposum or mysid shrimp, both of which belong to the same class (Malacostraca) as the true shrimp, but constitute two different orders within it, the Stomatopoda and the Mysidacea.
Shrimp are distinguished from the superficially similar prawns by the structure of the gills, and by the fact that female shrimp (as in all other pleocyemates) brood the eggs on their pleopods. There is, however, much confusion between the two, especially among non-specialists, and many shrimp are called "prawns" and many prawns are called "shrimp". This is particularly widespread in culinary contexts, including the following sections.
Shrimp as food
A number of the larger species, including the white shrimp Penaeus setiferus, are caught commercially and used for food. Recipes utilizing shrimp form part of the cuisine of many cultures: examples include jambalaya, okonomiyaki, poon choi, bagoong,Kerala and scampi.
Preparing shrimp for consumption usually involves removing the shell, tail, and "sand vein" (a euphemism for digestive tract). As with other seafood, shrimp is high in calcium, protein and low in food energy.
Shrimp and prawns are versatile ingredients, and are often used as an accompaniment to fried rice. Common methods of preparation include baking, boiling and frying. As stated in the movie Forrest Gump:
- "Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sautee it. There's, um, shrimp kebabs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo, pan fried, deep fried, stir fried. There's pineapple shrimp and lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich..."
Shrimps in aquaria
Japanese marsh shrimp Caridina japonica
Several types of shrimp are kept in home aquaria
and are useful in controlling algae and removing debris. Freshwater shrimp available for aquaria include the Japanese marsh shrimp
) and ghost or glass shrimps (Palaeomonetes sp.
) Popular saltwater shrimp include the cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis
), the fire shrimp (Lysmata debelius
) and the harlequin shrimp (Hymenocera picta
Triops longicaudatus or Triops cancriformis are also popular animals in freshwater aquaria, and are often called shrimp, although they belong to the Notostraca, a quite unrelated group.
People that catch shrimp are 'shrimpers', and the act of catching shrimp is called 'shrimping'. Strikers are the crewmen on the boat that set up and strike the nets.
Common methods for catching shrimp in the United States include otter trawls, cast nets, seines, and shrimp baiting. Trawling involves the use of a system of nets. Since by-catch is often an issue with trawling, conscientious commercial fishing boats use turtle excluder devices .
"Shrimp baiting" is a recreational shrimping technique. It involves a 'bait ball', which is a time-release bait, typically concocted of at least fishmeal and mud, though shrimpers sometimes have a secret concoction for their bait ball. You then put the bait balls in the water, wait a little while for the shrimp to show up, and then use small round "dip nets" to catch them.
Farming shrimp has become a renumerative coastal activity in many parts of the world, notably in many Asian and Latin American countries. Giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) and pacific white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) are the favourite culture species in the eastern and western hemisphere respectively.
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04