Crayfish and lobster are both crustaceans that belong to order Decapoda. They are well known by people due to their taste as seafood. Crayfish resemble small lobsters hence commonly confused by people.
So, what is the difference between crayfish and lobster? A crayfish live in freshwater including rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds while lobster lives in salty water which includes oceans and seas.
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Comparison Table (Crayfish vs lobster)
|Definition||Refers to a nocturnal freshwater crustacean that resembles a small lobster and inhabits freshwater bodies.||Refers to a large marine crustacean with a cylindrical body, stalked eyes, and the first of its first pair of limbs modified as pincers.|
|Family||Belongs to family Cambaridae, Astacidae and Parastacidae.||Belongs to family Palinuridae.|
|Geographical location||Mainly found in North America.||Found in Europe, North America, and Australia.|
|Habitat||Live in freshwater.||Live in salty water.|
|Size||They are small.||They are comparatively larger.|
|Color||They are greenish in color.||They are very colorful.|
|What they feed on||They eat worms, insects, and plants.||They eat small fish, prawns, clams, and snails.|
|Appearance||They have smaller front claws.||They have much larger front claws.|
What Is a Crayfish?
A crayfish is a nocturnal freshwater crustacean that resembles a small lobster and it lives in freshwater bodies. A crayfish can tolerate wide ranges of salinity and water temperatures. They can still be alive when their water sources have completely dried up.
It has large edible front claws. As they live in water, they eat whatever they find on the muddy bottom. The largest freshwater invertebrate lives in Australia and it is called the Tasmania Giant. They are eaten all over the world, but only a small part of the body is edible.
However, crayfish are very intolerant to pollution and other human-generated fouling of their environment. This may be due to the acid-generated absence of fish that prey on crayfish than to a direct positive influence of the acid on the crayfish itself.
What Is a Lobster?
A lobster is a large marine crustacean with a cylindrical body, stalked eyes, and the first of its pair of limbs modified as pincers. They live in salty water. The common variety is found in Europe and it is called European or Breton lobster which is blue in color while the ones found in North America are green or brown in color.
The rock lobster variety has much smaller front claws. In the USA the rock lobsters are known as crayfish. The most colorful lobsters are the reef lobsters and they live in rocky, coral reefs. They are red, orange, or purple in color, have rings, spots or strips.
Lobsters are larger in size as compared to crayfish and feed on small ocean animals and sometimes may become scavengers. The taste and texture of crayfish and lobsters are the same.
Main Differences between Crayfish and Lobster
- Crayfish inhabits freshwater bodies while lobsters inhabit salty water bodies.
- Some crayfish may have small front claws while lobsters have large front claws.
- Crayfish eat worms, insects, and plants while lobsters eat small fish, prawns, clams, and snails.
- Crayfish are greenish in color while lobsters are very colorful.
- Crayfish are small in body size while lobsters are comparatively large.
- Crayfish belong to three families while lobsters only belong to one family.
Similarities between Crayfish and Lobster
- They both have similar tastes and textures.
- They both prefer to live at the bottom of the water, hiding under rocks or crevices.
- They both have two body segments; that is cephalothorax and abdomen.
- Both have tough exoskeletons covering their body made of chitin.
- Both have antennae, a long tail, and a pair of compound eyes.
- Their front leg pair is differentiated into claws that help them catch their prey.
- Both have five pairs of legs and five pairs of swimmerets.
A crayfish is a small decapod that lives in freshwater bodies. Lobsters are comparatively large decapods and live in salty water bodies. They both have claws on their front legs. Crayfish is not colorful.
They mostly have a green color. Lobsters are very colorful and they may have rings, spots, or stripes on their bodies. The main features that distinguish a crayfish and a lobster are their habitat and body size.
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