Difference Wiki

Crayfish vs. Lobster: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on October 29, 2023
Crayfish are small, freshwater crustaceans, while lobsters are larger and typically marine.

Key Differences

Crayfish and lobster, both crustaceans, differ significantly in size and habitat. Crayfish are smaller and predominantly inhabit freshwater environments such as rivers and lakes. On the other hand, lobsters are larger and are usually found in saltwater habitats like oceans and seas.
Morphologically, crayfish and lobsters exhibit several distinct features. Crayfish possess a compact, segmented body and are renowned for their ability to walk backward swiftly. Lobsters, being marine organisms, have a more robust and larger build, enabling them to navigate efficiently in their aquatic surroundings.
The dietary habits of crayfish and lobster are also notably different. Crayfish are generally omnivorous, feeding on plants, small fish, and detritus, and play a pivotal role in maintaining ecological balance. Lobsters, with their varied diet, consume fish, mollusks, and other sea creatures, contributing to marine biodiversity.
Both crayfish and lobsters hold economic value. Crayfish are sought after for both pet and food industries due to their manageable size and diverse species. Lobsters are esteemed seafood, known for their rich flavor and nutritional value, garnering a premium price in the market.
In terms of lifespan and reproductive strategy, crayfish and lobsters have divergent paths. Crayfish typically have a shorter lifespan and reproduce more frequently. Lobsters, known for their longevity, have a more prolonged and complex reproductive cycle, adding to their ecological significance.

Comparison Chart


Predominantly freshwater
Typically marine




Varied diet including fish and mollusks

Economic Value

Pet and food industries
Esteemed and high-priced seafood

Reproductive Strategy

Shorter lifespan, reproduce more frequently
Longer lifespan, complex reproductive cycle

Crayfish and Lobster Definitions


Crayfish are known for their ability to walk backward swiftly.
The crayfish quickly retreated to its burrow when threatened.


Lobsters have a robust, large build.
The lobster’s hard shell protects it from predators.


Crayfish have a compact, segmented body.
We studied the anatomy of a crayfish in biology class.


Lobsters consume a varied diet including fish and mollusks.
The lobster preyed on the small mollusks on the ocean floor.


Crayfish are omnivorous and play a role in maintaining ecological balance.
Crayfish contribute to the ecosystem by consuming detritus and small aquatic organisms.


Lobsters are esteemed seafood, known for their rich flavor.
The rich flavor of the lobster made it the highlight of the meal.


Any of various freshwater crustaceans of the families Astacidae and Cambaridae of the Northern Hemisphere and the family Parastacidae of the Southern Hemisphere, resembling a lobster but considerably smaller. Also called mudbug; also called regionally crawdad.


Lobsters have a longer lifespan and complex reproductive cycle.
The longevity and reproductive strategy of lobsters make them fascinating marine creatures.


See spiny lobster.


Any of several edible marine decapod crustaceans of the family Nephropidae, especially of the genus Homarus, having stalked eyes, long antennae, a pair of large pincers, and a cylindrical body.


Any of numerous freshwater decapod crustaceans in superfamily Astacoidea or Parastacoidea, resembling the related lobster but usually much smaller.


Any of several similar crustaceans, such as a spiny lobster.


A freshwater crustacean (family Cambaridae), sometimes used as an inexpensive seafood or as fish bait.


The flesh of a lobster used as food.


A rock lobster (family Palinuridae).


To catch or try to catch lobsters.


(AU) A freshwater crayfish (family Parastacidae), such as the gilgie, marron, or yabby.


Red-colored, especially from a sunburn.
Red as a lobster


(Singapore) The species Thenus orientalis of the slipper lobster family (Scyllaridae).


A crustacean of the Nephropidae family, dark green or blue-black in colour turning bright red when cooked, with a hard shell and claws, which is used as a seafood.


To catch crayfish


A crustacean of the Palinuridae family, pinkish red in colour, with a hard, spiny shell but no claws, which is used as a seafood.


(to backpedal, desert, or withdraw)


A soldier or officer of the imperial British Army (due to their red or scarlet uniform).


See Crawfish.


(slang) An Australian twenty dollar note, due to its reddish-orange colour.


Warm-water lobsters without claws; those from Australia and South Africa usually marketed as frozen tails; caught also in Florida and California


To fish for lobsters.


Tiny lobster-like crustaceans usually boiled briefly


Any large macrurous crustacean used as food, esp. those of the genus Homarus; as the American lobster (Homarus Americanus), and the European lobster (Homarus vulgaris). The Norwegian lobster (Nephrops Norvegicus) is similar in form. All these have a pair of large unequal claws. The spiny lobsters of more southern waters, belonging to Palinurus, Panulirus, and allied genera, have no large claws. The fresh-water crayfishes are sometimes called lobsters.


Small freshwater decapod crustacean that resembles a lobster


As a term of opprobrium or contempt: A gullible, awkward, bungling, or undesirable person.


Large edible marine crustacean having a spiny carapace but lacking the large pincers of true lobsters


Flesh of a lobster


Crayfish are small, freshwater crustaceans.
The children caught a crayfish in the shallow stream.


Any of several edible marine crustaceans of the families Homaridae and Nephropsidae and Palinuridae


Crayfish are sought after for both the pet and food industries.
The pet store had several species of crayfish for sale.


Lobsters are large, marine crustaceans.
We enjoyed fresh lobster at the seaside restaurant.


Do lobsters have a higher economic value than crayfish?

Generally, lobsters have higher economic value and are considered high-priced seafood.

Are crayfish used as pets?

Yes, crayfish are kept as pets and are also valued in the food industry.

Is the diet of a crayfish different from that of a lobster?

Yes, crayfish are omnivorous, while lobsters have a varied diet including fish and mollusks.

Are lobsters larger than crayfish?

Yes, lobsters are generally larger than crayfish.

Can crayfish walk backward swiftly?

Yes, crayfish are renowned for their ability to walk backward swiftly.

Are crayfish omnivorous?

Yes, crayfish are omnivorous, consuming plants, small fish, and detritus.

Are crayfish only found in freshwater?

Predominantly yes, crayfish mainly inhabit freshwater environments.

Do crayfish have a shorter lifespan compared to lobsters?

Yes, crayfish typically have a shorter lifespan compared to lobsters.

Do lobsters live in marine environments?

Yes, lobsters typically inhabit saltwater or marine environments.

Is the shell of a lobster hard and robust?

Yes, lobsters have a hard, robust shell that offers protection.

Do lobsters have a complex reproductive cycle?

Yes, lobsters have a prolonged and complex reproductive cycle.

Are crayfish smaller than lobsters?

Yes, crayfish are generally smaller than lobsters.

Are crayfish important for maintaining ecological balance?

Yes, crayfish play a pivotal role in maintaining ecological balance in freshwater environments.

Is the body of a crayfish segmented?

Yes, crayfish have a compact, segmented body.

Are lobsters known for their rich flavor?

Yes, lobsters are esteemed for their rich flavor and are a culinary delicacy.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons