A red shrimp in Panama. Image: Rhett A. Butler

1. True or False? All shrimp are shrimpy.

False! Well, kind of. Most species of shrimp are quite small, measuring only millimeters or a few centimeters long. In 2006 a biologist claimed to have found a black tiger shrimp 40 cm (over a foot) long. 

The black tiger shrimp is actually a species of prawn. True shrimp are most closely related to crabs and lobsters, while prawns belong to a more distant evolutionary lineage. Shrimp and prawns are both crustaceans, along with crabs and lobsters. Many people also call prawns “shrimp” even though they are not true shrimp. 

2. True or False? All shrimp are seafood.

False! There are over 3000 species of true shrimp. These shrimp species all come from a marine ancestor and most of them still live in the ocean, but over 800 of these shrimp species live in freshwater habitats like marshes and lakes.

Meet the peppermint shrimp:

Peppermint shrimp
Illustration: Maria Salazar

The peppermint shrimp lives in the ocean. This 7 centimeter (2.8 in) long shrimp was named for its resemblance to peppermint candy. There are at least four species of peppermint shrimp that live in the oceans off the coast of South Carolina and Florida in the United States.  

3. True or False? Shrimp make more money than movie stars and professional athletes do.

True! Movie stars and professional athletes make millions of dollars a year. Shrimp make BILLIONS of dollars a year. The combined value of shrimp caught in the ocean and raised on shrimp farms is worth over 20 billion dollars a year.

Northern shrimp on boat
Northern shrimp on shrimp boat. Image: NOAA