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Difference Between Crawfish and Lobster

lobsterCrawfish vs Lobster

Crawfish or crayfish are basically crustaceans commonly found in freshwater. These usually look like small lobsters and are organically related to them as well, whereas lobsters are essentially crustaceans infesting marine water. Crawfish, crawdads or crayfish compose of the super families of Parastacoidea and Astacoidea. On the other hand clawed lobsters fall within the family of Nephropidae or Homaridae at times.

The body of a crawfish, which is a decapod crustacean, comprises of as many as nineteen distinctive body parts that are collectively combined into two primary body parts. These two are the cephalothorax followed by the abdomen. Furthermore, each of the body segments has two appendages. In general an average crayfish grows up to 17.5 centimeters in length. Lobsters are essentially invertebrates, having a hard shielding exoskeleton. Lobsters like all other major arthropods need to molt in order to grow. While molting they experience color changes. The periods of growth are rather vulnerable for the lobsters. The name clawed lobsters comes from the fact that lobsters have 10 legs of which the front ones are adapted to work like claws.

Crayfish generally feeds on both living and dead plants and animals. On the other hand, lobsters eat live food which may include mollusks, other crustaceans, fish, worms and some plant life as well. But lobsters, unlike crayfish, at times also resort to cannibalism under extreme conditions and eat their own flesh after molting.

Crayfish exist in diverse colors. Some may have a single color while others may show a variety of colors. A blue crayfish may have pink dots or lining along the shell. They are also found in other colors like brown, black, red, pink, gray, blue and purple. Lobsters on the other hand are generally blue or copper in color because of the presence of blue blood containing copper and haemocyanin.

Both the Crayfish and Lobster trace a long history, but characteristically quite different from each other. Talking of Crayfish, the people of the Moche ethnic group of ancient Peru used to worship animals which often depicted the common crayfish, which can also commonly be found in their art. The earliest fossil records of crayfish that were ever found were traced in Australia, as many as 115 million years back. Nonetheless, the common European lobster found in the wild and the royal blue lobsters of Audresselles were traditionally relished by the aristocratic families and royal families of Netherlands and France. Often scenes of men fishing lobsters can be found portrayed in certain Dutch paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries.


1. Crawfish are freshwater crustaceans while lobsters are marine crustaceans.
2. Lobsters are cannibalistic under pressure and eat their own skin while molting, whereas crawfish show no such habits.
3. Crawfish eats dead animals and plants while lobster eats live plants and animals.
4. Crayfish were traditionally eaten in parts of South America, Peru and Australia whereas Lobsters were more common in the European continent particularly favored in France and Netherlands.
5. Crawfish belong to the super family of Parastacoidea and Astacoidea while lobsters belong to the family to Nephropidae or Homaridae.

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  1. While some of your info is correct, some is not. I have Crayfish/crawfish and they exhibit the behavior you have stated they do not. They are indeed active hunters of fish and I have observed them catch and eat a live fish. They will also eat dead fish like you said but not rotten. They DO eat their moulted shell. They do also eat their own flesh AND will become cannibalistic as most/all crustaceans do. One of my Crayfish dropped his claw whilst moulting. The flesh was still inside. He ate the whole entire thing. This helps replenish their calcium and he grew another claw. These two creatures, though different sizes are indeed related down the line, only, at some point, one migrated to the Oceans and one to the lakes.

    • Thanks you for the corrections I have one question I live in Texas I found a large crawfish/lobster burrowed in my yard is 8″ long and about 2″ wide I’ve looked up the difference in looks I’ve seen the crawfish have more narrow claws and the lobster have much larger more rounded claws the one in my yard has large round claws how else can I tell the species apart?

  2. corrections

    2… Crayfish do eat their discarded Skin/shell

    3…. They do eat anything live they can get their claws on.

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