Crayfish vs. Crawfish
The word “crawfish” doesn’t mean much to most people. But those who do understand what it refers to say that there are two types of crayfish, both of which come from Louisiana. One type is called “crawfish,” while the other is called “crayfish.” Both are edible, though they are different species.
This confusion over nomenclature is common among foodies, especially since the terms are often used interchangeably. Some even believe that “crawfish” is actually a regional term referring to the state of Louisiana. Others think that “crawfish,” like “crab,” is simply a generic name for crustaceans.
But there’s no doubt about the difference between the two species. Crayfish are freshwater shrimp that live near rivers and lakes. Crawfish are larger, land-dwelling crustaceans that live in swamps and marshes.
While “crawfish” and “crayfish” sound similar, there are some important differences between the two. For starters, “crawfish” are generally smaller than “crayfish.” And they don’t have claws.
Additionally, “crawfish,” unlike “crayfish,” are typically cooked and eaten whole. This makes sense because they’re easier to eat than “crayfish,” which tend to look like little lobsters.
The Difference Between Crayfish, Crawfish and Crawdads
Crawfish are crustaceans that look like lobsters. They grow large claws and eat plants and insects. They’re native to North America, Central America, South America, and parts of Africa. In Louisiana, crawfish are called “crawdads.” In New Orleans, they are known as “crawfish,” while in Florida, they are called “crabs.” Crayfish are related to crabs and lobsters, but they don’t have claws. Instead, they use long antennae to find food. They also lack legs; instead, they walk around using their tails. They’re found in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. They are sometimes referred to as “freshwater shrimp.”
Crawfish are closely related to crawdads, but they aren’t lobsters. Lobsters are marine animals that spend most of their lives in salt water. Crawfish spend most of their lives near freshwater sources. Both species are often confused with each other because they both have similar names and characteristics.
What Are Crayfish?
Crayfish are freshwater crustaceans. They look somewhat like little lobsters, except that they don’t have claws. Instead, they have feathery gills that allow them to breathe underwater.
As for where they live before being harvested, some species are found in brook and streams, where fresh waters are running, while others thrive on swamps, ditches and paddy fields. Their scientific name is Procambarus clarkii, and it means ‘little crawler’.
The name itself comes from the old French word escreveuse, meaning ‘crawlers’ or ‘creepers’, and the study of crays is called astacology, or the science of crayfish.
Trick to Remember the Difference
Crawfish vs. Crayfish
In most contexts, including taxonomies, biology, and everyday usage, crawfish is the standard term used to refer to crustaceans of the genus Procambarus. This includes species such as P. clarkii, P. americanus, and P. virginalis. Crawfish are also known as American crawdads, mudbugs, swamp crabs, spiny lobsters, and freshwater crayfish.
However, in the context of regional cuisines, crawfish is often referred to as “crawdad”, “crabmeat”, or simply “crayfish”. This refers specifically to the Louisiana variety of crawfish, which is native to the Gulf Coast region of the United States. Other varieties include those found in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Ontario, Canada, and Mexico.
The term “crawfish” does not apply to any other type of lobster or shrimp. Although there are many variations of crawfish dishes across different regions, the basic preparation method is very similar, regardless of whether the dish is prepared with live or cooked crawfish.
Crawfish aren’t actually fish. Here’s how they got their name.
Summer is almost here, and what better way to celebrate than with a crawfish boil? A fish boil is a traditional American dish consisting of boiled seafood such as crabs, lobsters, mussels, clams, oysters, and shrimp. These are often served over rice, pasta, potatoes, cornbread, or biscuits.
But there’s something different about summertime crawfish boils — people start calling them “crawfish boils” because they don’t serve just seafood. They also include crawfish meat. And while some folks think that crawfish are simply small lobsters, others say that they are crustaceans similar to crayfish.
So what do we call them? Well, it turns out that there isn’t really a single word that everyone agrees upon. Instead, many people use terms like “crawfish” and “crayfish” interchangeably. But the term that seems to be gaining popularity is “crawdad,” especially among those who live in Louisiana.
In fact, according to Merriam- Webster, the online dictionary, the word “crawdad” originated in the state of Louisiana. In 1881, a newspaper editor named John T. DeWitt wrote an article titled “What We Call Themselves When Calling Themselves Americans,” in which he described the local dialect as “the Creole language, spoken by the lower classes, mostly negroes.” He noted that the locals used the phrase “crawdad,” which meant crab or crayfish.
A few years later, another writer named Celia Owens published a children’s story called “Where the Crawdads Sing.” She included the following note in the story: “Though I am writing this tale for young readers, I must confess that the little girl who lived in the big house did not much care for crawfish. Her father always called them crawdads.”
Owens went on to describe a family trip to New Orleans during Mardi Gras, and she mentioned that the woman who cooked the meal had no idea what to call them. At the end of the story, she suggested that the family should eat them anyway.
After reading the story, a reader named Mrs. H. E. Loyall contacted the author and asked for clarification. So Owens responded with an email dated April 11, 1927, in which she wrote: “I thought perhaps you would like to know that the lady who cooks our meals calls them crawdads, and that is the name we give them.”