Are shrimps bugs the same as shrimps? Yes and no! While shrimp and shrimp bugs do look very similar, there are some big differences between the two. You don’t want to be eating shrimp bugs by mistake, so let’s take a closer look at both of these creatures of the sea and figure out if they really are one in the same!
Are shrimp bugs?
Many shrimp species eat plants and are referred to as herbivores. Shrimp bugs eat insects and are referred to as carnivores. A shrimp bug (order Hemiptera, family Anthocoridae) is a small insect that feeds on other invertebrates.
Because they have a specialized proboscis, most people refer to them as assassin bugs because they feed on their prey by piercing it with their sharp mouthparts called a proboscis, which then injects digestive juices into their prey. There are about 1,400 species in 100 genera that share these characteristics.
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Confusion Between Crustaceans and Insects
Many people make mistakes when they think about shrimps, crabs and lobsters. It is common that they are confused with insects. But it is wrong to have such a notion. For instance, shrimps bugs have thorax with no wings and segmented bodies.
When it comes to crustaceans, their thorax has three pair of legs. Insects have three parts on their body – head, thorax and abdomen, while a crustacean has five segments on its body (head, thorax and abdomen plus two additional swimmerets). The line that separates these two types isn’t very clear.
Crustaceans vs. Insects
Shrimp or Insect? There is much confusion surrounding whether shrimps and crabs are insects or crustaceans. To clear up that confusion, you have to go back to secondary school biology class!
Crustaceans are a group of arthropods—animals with jointed limbs—and they share two main characteristics. Firstly, they all have a hard exoskeleton, which means their outer layer is rigid and cannot be easily removed by peeling.
Are shrimps insects?
Some people think shrimps are insects, but this isn’t true. Shrimps are crustaceans, which are members of the arthropod class, making them more closely related to crabs and lobsters than to insects like ants or grasshoppers.
Crustaceans have exoskeletons that have been hardened and strengthened with calcium carbonate, while insects have an endoskeleton made of chitin.
Shrimps are not Insects
Shrimps are not a type of insect, they belong to a different phylum. They don’t have a chitin exoskeleton and they don’t have antennae. So, if we look at just those criteria, then no, shrimps are not insects; but that doesn’t mean we should completely rule out them being classified as such in future.
The cut-off point between what is an insect and what isn’t can be pretty blurry when you start looking at very small animals, so it wouldn’t be unheard of for scientists to reclassify them one day.
Although shrimps and roaches are related, shrimps are not roaches. If cockroaches gross you out, should you also be grossed out by eating your fancy shrimp cocktail? Maybe…
Creepy crawly roaches anywhere near your food are a big turn-off. This is especially true if you know how closely related cockroaches and shrimp are.
All living things, including shrimp and roaches, are organized by scientists into separate groups based on their common characteristics.
An easy example is how lobsters and shrimp are closely related. But what about roaches? Do cockroaches have anything in common with shrimp?
They do, which is why it’s so important to understand how scientists group things. Cockroaches are insects. And shrimp are crustaceans. And while they both belong to their groups (insects and crustaceans), they also share characteristics that group them.
What is common in cockroaches and shrimp?
Both crustaceans and insects have three part bodies: the thorax, abdomen and head.
Both shrimp and cockroaches have jointed legs, and both have exoskeletons. Simply put, an exoskeleton is having your bones on the outside of your body, like a protective shield.
If you have eaten shrimp, there is a good chance that you had to remove the shell (or exoskeleton) before eating or cooking. Cockroaches also have
If you’ve ever eaten steamed shrimp, you probably know that they have an exoskeleton. This is a characteristic roaches share with shrimp.
Creatures that share such characteristics belong to a group called Arthropods. Arthropods include animals like centipedes and spiders. Researchers have concluded that crustaceans and insects have a close evolutionary relationship. The relationship is so close that they belong to a group of their own called Pancrustacea.
As a result, all of these animals, including lobsters, shrimp, and other crustaceans, are very closely related. So yes, cockroaches are closely related to shrimp and many other insects.
After reading this, what do you think: If shrimp lived inside your walls, would you change your opinion about them? Would you still enjoy your shrimp cocktail or shrimp scampi?
If you scream when you see a nasty roach run across your kitchen counter, would you scream when you see a live shrimp?
So, the relationship is close between shrimp and roach, but a shrimp isn’t the same as a cockroach.
Are shrimps really roaches of the sea?
Shrimps are called roaches of the sea because of their feeding habits. These decapod crustaceans are scouring the sand or sediment for anything to ingest. In other words, like roaches, shrimp will eat almost anything.
Roaches and shrimp occupy the same ecological niche. Both roaches and shrimp are detrivores or detritivores and scavengers. A detritivore is an animal that feeds on dead plants. Not only shrimp but lobsters and crabs are detrivores.
So, both shrimp and cockroaches will eat stuff that would make you lose your lunch. But, the similarities aren’t enough to turn shrimp into roaches of the sea.
In reality, shrimp and cockroaches are very different from one another. Shrimp are crustaceans like lobster and crabs, while cockroaches are insects like ants and beetles.
Another similar characteristic between shrimp and cockroaches is their antennae. But, even though they look somewhat similar, they are not the same.
The biggest difference between shrimp and cockroaches is that shrimp taste a whole lot better.
Did you know that shrimp love to attach themselves to the sewer pipes of coastal cities? If that won’t bring your appetite for a nice shrimp dish, nothing will.
What kind of bug is a shrimp?
A shrimp is not a bug. Shrimps may look like an insect to the untrained eye, but they are scientifically very different. While a shrimp may look like a bug, it’s a crustacean. So a shrimp isn’t a bug by definition.
Are cockroaches and shrimp from the same family?
Cockroaches and shrimp are not from the same family. As a matter of fact, roaches are insects. Roaches belong to the Hexapoda family, while shrimp belong to the Malacostraca family.
While roaches and shrimp share a common evolutionary ancestor, they are not part of the same family. We are talking about a very distant ancestry, dating back to 440 million years.
To put it in perspective, human beings are more related to T-Rex than shrimp to a cockroach.
But, both shrimp and roaches share one nasty habit. They love to munch on dead stuff. So, it’s understandable if you don’t want to eat shrimp. But, if you don’t want to eat scavengers, you might want to avoid eating chickens too.