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A bigclaw river shrimp. Prawns are sometimes said to be large shrimp or alternatively freshwater shrimp, but this large, freshwater creature is a caridean shrimp, and is rarely referred to as a prawn.

A lot of confusion surrounds the scope of the term shrimp. Part of the confusion originates with the association of smallness. That creates problems with shrimp-like species that are not small. The expression "jumbo shrimp" can be viewed as an oxymoron, a problem that doesn't exist with the commercial designation "jumbo prawns".[111]

The term shrimp originated around the 14th century with the Middle English shrimpe, akin to the Middle Low German schrempen, and meaning to contract or wrinkle; and the Old Norse skorpna, meaning to shrivel up, or skreppa, meaning a thin person.[112][113] It is not clear where the term prawn originated, but early forms of the word surfaced in England in the early 15th century as prayne, praine and prane.[114][115][116] According to the linguist Anatoly Liberman it is unclear how shrimp, in English, came to be associated with small. "No Germanic language associates the shrimp with its size... The same holds for Romance... it remains unclear in what circumstances the name was applied to the crustacean."[117]

Taxonomic studies in Europe on shrimp and prawns were shaped by the common shrimp and the common prawn, both found in huge numbers along the European coastlines. The common shrimp, Crangon crangon, was categorised in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus, and the common prawn, Palaemon serratus, was categorised in 1777 by Thomas Pennant. The common shrimp is a small burrowing species aligned with the notion of a shrimp as being something small, whereas the common prawn is much larger. The terms true shrimp or true prawn are sometimes used to mean what a particular person thinks is a shrimp or prawn.[12] This varies with the person using the terms. But such terms are not normally used in the scientific literature, because the terms shrimp and prawn themselves lack scientific standing. Over the years the way shrimp and prawn are used has changed, and nowadays the terms are almost interchangeable. Although from time to time some biologists declare that certain common names should be confined to specific taxa, the popular use of these names seems to continue unchanged.[12][118]


Miscellanea

Only 57 exclusively fossil species are known in the shrimp fossil record.[35] The earliest date from th

According to the crustacean taxonomist Tin-Yam Chan, "The terms shrimp and prawn have no definite reference to any known taxonomic groups. Although the term shrimp is sometimes applied to smaller species, while prawn is more often used for larger forms, there is no clear distinction between both terms and their usage is often confused or even reverse in different countries or regions."[109] Writing in 1980, L. B. Holthuis noted that the terms prawn and shrimp were used inconsistently "even within a single region", generalising that larger species fished commercially were generally called shrimp in the United States, and prawns in other English-speaking countries, although not without exceptions.[110]

A lot of confusion surrounds the scope of the term shrimp. Part of the confusion originates with the association of smallness. That creates problems with shrimp-like species that are not small. The expression "jumbo shrimp" can be viewed as an oxymoron, a problem that doesn't exist with the commercial designation "jumbo prawns".[111]

The term shrimp originated around the 14th century with the Middle English shrimpe, akin to the Middle Low German schrempen, and meaning to contract or wrinkle; and the Old Norse skorpna, meaning to shrivel up, or skreppa, meaning a thin person.[112][113] It is not clear where the term prawn originated, but early forms of the word surfaced in England in the early 15th century as prayne, praine and prane.[114][115]The term shrimp originated around the 14th century with the Middle English shrimpe, akin to the Middle Low German schrempen, and meaning to contract or wrinkle; and the Old Norse skorpna, meaning to shrivel up, or skreppa, meaning a thin person.[112][113] It is not clear where the term prawn originated, but early forms of the word surfaced in England in the early 15th century as prayne, praine and prane.[114][115][116] According to the linguist Anatoly Liberman it is unclear how shrimp, in English, came to be associated with small. "No Germanic language associates the shrimp with its size... The same holds for Romance... it remains unclear in what circumstances the name was applied to the crustacean."[117]

Taxonomic studies in Europe on shrimp and prawns were shaped by the common shrimp and the common prawn, both found in huge numbers along the European coastlines. The common shrimp, Crangon crangon, was categorised in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus, and the common prawn, Palaemon serratus, was categorised in 1777 by Thomas Pennant. The common shrimp is a small burrowing species aligned with the notion of a shrimp as being something small, whereas the common prawn is much larger. The terms true shrimp or true prawn are sometimes used to mean what a particular person thinks is a shrimp or prawn.[12] This varies with the person using the terms. But such terms are not normally used in the scientific literature, because the terms shrimp and prawn themselves lack scientific standing. Over the years the way shrimp and prawn are used has changed, and nowadays the terms are almost interchangeable. Although from time to time some biologists declare that certain common names should be confined to specific taxa, the popular use of these names seems to continue unchanged.[12][118]


Only 57 exclusively fossil species are known in the shrimp fossil record.[35] The earliest date from the Lower Jurassic and Cretaceous.[119]

Various coastal settlements in the United States have claimed the tit

Various coastal settlements in the United States have claimed the title "Shrimp Capital of the World". For example, the claim was made earlier in the nineteenth century for the Port of Brunswick in Georgia, and Fernandina and Saint Augustine in Florida.[120] More recent claims have been made for Aransas Pass[121] and Brownsville in Texas,[122] as well as Morgan City in Louisiana.[123] The claim has also been made for Mazatlán in Mexico.[124]