Are Shrimps Insects?

ShrimpShrimps are consumed worldwide but many people says that they are insects. You probably heard that from someone so you are here to know the truth.

So are shrimps insects? Shrimps are not insects they are decapod crustaceans and insects are hexapoda. They a common route of ancestry i.e. Arthropod which they shared millions of years ago, but they evolved differently. Although they share a few similarities but that doesn’t mean shrimps are insects.

Little Bit About Shrimps And Insects

Shrimps are decapod crustaceans, and they are marine species. They have long whiskers with slender leg and a thick tail. They are covered in shells which protect them from minor injuries. The size varies from species to species.

The long whiskers or antenna helps them to understand their environment and move along in the marine environment. It also helps them to detect any nearby predators and also helps them to locate food.

The slender legs allow them to move freely. They have many legs which they use to move around the water body. Shrimps are widespread, and you can see them eating around in seafloor, rivers or lakes. 

Insects are hexapoda invertebrate, and there are almost six to ten million different species of insects around the world. They are the largest group of Arthropods. You can find insects everywhere because they are very widespread. Some insect lives on land, some insects fly, and some insects are marine.

As you can see, the difference is visible. Shrimps are decapod crustaceans, and insects are hexapoda. Although they had the same ancestor millions of years ago, they evolved very differently, and they belonged to a different sub-phylum.

In a word, shrimps are not insects.

Shrimps And Insects Similarities

Before you know the differences, you should know the similarities so that you can get a broader perspective. This will give you an idea about why shrimps are not insects even though they have so many similarities. As mentioned earlier shrimp and insects had the same ancestors i.e. arthropod.

Hence, there are bound to be some similarities, but that doesn’t mean that shrimps are insects. Below mentioned are some of the reasons why people think they are similar but let me remind you that they say it because they lack sufficient knowledge. 


Many insects are scavengers much like shrimps. They eat dead things like shrimp. This is a beneficial thing because they could survive without hunting, and it’s an excellent tool for survival.


Cicada Insect Moulting

Cicada Insect Moulting

The exoskeleton of many insects is similar to that of shrimps. Shrimp have shells that protect them, from minor injuries this trait is seen in many insects. 

Both shrimp and insects have compound eyes which helps them to get see around. Some insects also have an antenna which helps them to sense their surroundings. Their respiratory functions are also quite similar. Shrimps and insects both have hemocyanin that transports oxygen throughout the body. 

It is a protein that helps in transporting oxygen. Both of them have limb generation. So when they lose their limb, they regenerate it through moulting.

Social Life

Some species of shrimp share a very complex social life. They have a queen that gives birth to shrimps they have workers, and they have guards which defend their home from outsiders.

Every shrimp has its role. This is unique to shrimps. The guards have powerful claws that help them to protect their home. This thing is also seen in some insects but not all insects. This behavior ensures a higher survival rate and is an excellent thing from an evolutionary standpoint.

With that many similarities, people assume they are insects; however, do remember shrimps are not insects.

Shrimp And Insects Differences

When any organism belongs to a different group even though they have the same family ancestry, they are considered to be different. Shrimps are primarily scavengers whereas insects food habits varies. Some are herbivores, some are carnivore and some are scavengers. Their habitat is also different. Shrimp lives in water and insects mainly live in the land, air and also water, but not just in the water.

Structurally shrimps are different compared to insects even though they show some similarities in their exoskeleton. Insects have learned to adapt to almost all types of climates but shrimp, unfortunately, can only survive underwater because they are crustaceans. 

Shrimps Primary Source Of Food

Shrimp are scavengers, and they can eat almost anything. They hunt small shrimps, small fish and can also survive by consuming something dead. They are careful creatures because they are hunted worldwide and has a lot of predators.

For them, the most favourable condition is to eat something that is already dead. They can eat almost anything dead, including sharks. They eat the predators that hunt them when they are dead. They also eat plants, insects, crabs, dead fish, small fish that they can find nearby. 

Shrimp And Crustaceans

Shrimp And CrabIn order to make you understand it clearly why shrimps are not insects and why they are crustaceans. For this we are going to take Pistol shrimp as an example. Pistol shrimp is a unique shrimp. There is a reason behind this name.

One of the claws of pistol shrimp functions much like a handgun. They eat other shrimps or small fishes and they hunt in a unique way. They use their claw much like a handgun, and when prey is near them, they snap it, and it creates a bubble shot that can travel at a speed of 62 mph enough to stun its prey. 

After that, the pistol shrimp captures it’s prey and devours it. This is a unique ability only seen in pistol shrimp no insect possess this ability. Highly developed claws are only present in the shrimp and other crustaceans,

The claws are more closely related to crabs than any pincers that insects have. This proves that they have evolved very differently. Shrimps are much closely related to crabs than an insect. If you notice a crab, you’ll see a lot of similarities with a shrimp. 

They have a sturdy exoskeleton, they have ten legs, and they use the same mode of movement in the water as that of shrimp. They have developed claws much like a shrimp because that is one of their weapons. Crabs use their claws to catch prey and defend themselves against predators and the same goes for shrimps. 

The reason behind so many similarities is because both crabs and shrimps are crustaceans whereas insects are hexapoda. Shrimps and insects have the same phylum, i.e. Arthropoda or arthropod, but the sub phylum is different. So insects and shrimps have some similarities because of the same phylum but there are lot of dissimilarities because of different sub phylum. In one word shrimps are more closely related to crab than insects.

Why People Thinks Shrimps Are Insects

Since both of them had the same ancestor, people think they are the same. They didn’t do any further research regarding this and jumped into the conclusion. Shrimp share a lot of similarities, but that doesn’t mean they are insects. They belong from a different subphylum that is enough to make a different species.

Millions of years ago, Arthropod roamed the earth and from there came so many different species and subspecies. Different species were born from there, and there were lots of differences in their behavior. The false information that shrimps are insects are passed as word of mouth, and many have shared this for generations. This can only be stopped when you have the proper knowledge. 

The Impact Of Thinking Shrimps Are Insects

shrimp eaten worldwideShrimps are consumed worldwide. The impact of this wrong information has stopped many people from eating shrimp even though they loved eating shrimps. These people cannot consume shrimp because they think they are insects. Now, this is happening to lots of people. It always better to find the truth and the truth is that they are not insects.

People who accidentally consume shrimps and later on learn that they are insects tend to behave very oddly (not everyone). They get a panic attack that’s because many people are scared of insects, many people have a phobia, and if these people learn that they have consumed an insect, then it will create a big problem.

That’s why it’s essential to understand the truth. So shrimps are not insects, and if you want to eat it, you can freely eat it.


Shrimps are not insects; they are decapod crustaceans whereas insects are hexapoda. The misinformation has stopped many people from consuming shrimp. Shrimps are more closely related to crabs than that of insects. Shrimps had a common ancestor millions of years ago, i.e. they are both arthropod.

Hence, they share a few similarities, but then they evolved very differently and became a different species. Shrimps live in water, and insects live on land, water and air. There is not a single shrimp that can survive on land or can fly. They are limited to water, and they are crustaceans so there no reason to assume shrimps are insects.

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