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What Do Shrimp Eat

Last updated date: 01st Mar 2024
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Small Shrimps and Baby Prawns

Both Shrimps and Prawns are small members of the crustacean family. They are usually eaten as food in mainly the United States and in some countries in Asia. Shrimps that act as food sources are usually brown or orange in colour but shrimps of various different colours exist. Shrimps also act as a popular food source even in their natural habitat as they are eaten by salmon and other large fishes. Shrimps and Prawns are very similar in their appearance and thus are oftentimes confused and the terms are used interchangeably.  

Shrimp and Prawn

Shrimp and Prawn

What Do Shrimp Eat?

Shrimps are actually capable of eating anything and everything. Shrimps are scavengers and mainly help in decomposing. Scavengers or Decomposers are organisms that feed on dead organic matter and they play a very important role in maintaining the continuity of the food chain. In their natural habitat, they eat several things like algae, other dead shrimps, dead and living plants, worms and even decaying worms, fish, snails, and other dead organic matter. When kept in an aquarium, they can feed on anything which is available, for example, leftover fish food, some algae which may grow in the aquarium, etc.

Shrimp Facts

Some interesting and amusing facts about shrimps are mentioned below:

  • There are about 2000 species of shrimp recorded to date.

  • Some species of shrimps also have the ability to glow in the dark .

Shrimps can Glow in the Dark

Shrimps Can Glow in the Dark

  • Shrimps usually swim backwards.

  • They have five pairs of legs.

  • Female shrimps can lay up to a thousand eggs at a time.

  • Baby shrimps are known as Larvae.

A Baby Shrimp

A Baby Shrimp

  • From a baby shrimp to an adult shrimp, there are 16 different stages of development.

  • Most of the shrimps can live for approximately one year but there are some shrimps which can live up to five or six years.

  • Every shrimp that is born is first born as a male organism and then it later develops into a female as it matures.

Where Do Prawns Live?

Prawns, like shrimps, can live in both salt and freshwater but unlike shrimps, most of their population is majorly found in freshwater. They also mainly reside in calm and still waters where they can easily lay their eggs.

Sample Questions

State whether the statements mentioned below are true or not:

1. Shrimps and Prawns are two names for the same organisms. 

Ans: False, they are two different organisms.

2. Some shrimps can even glow in the dark.

Ans: True.

3. Shrimps are scavengers or decomposers.

Ans: True

4. Shrimps do not play any role in the ecosystem.

Ans: False, shrimps play an important role in the ecosystem.

Learn by Doing

Complete the statements mentioned below by filling in the blanks:

1. Shrimps are mainly found in __________.

Ans: seawater

2. Shrimps are ___________.

Ans: omnivore

3. They usually live for a ________.

Ans: year

4. Prawns are found in ________ water so they can lay their eggs.

Ans: Still

5. Shrimps have ___ development stages.

Ans: 16


Shrimps and prawns are very similar organisms which belong to the group of organisms known as crustaceans. Both shrimps and prawns serve as a source of food. Both the organisms can exist in freshwater and seawater but shrimps are mostly found in the seawater whereas prawns are mainly found in freshwater.

FAQs on What Do Shrimp Eat

1. Name a few predators of shrimps.

Some animals which feed on shrimps are: crabs, starfish, some sea birds, etc. 

2. What is the role played by Shrimp in the ecosystem?

Shrimp play a very important role in the ecosystem, since they are decomposers or scavengers, thus they mainly feed on the dead organic matter and help in restoring the nutrients back in the food chain. 

3. Do shrimps have a brain?

Yes, Shrimp do have a brain, but it is very small in size.