Difference Between Krill and Shrimp


Main Difference

The main difference between Krill and Shrimp is that Krill is a small, transparent crustacean that has three body segments, whereas Shrimp is large colorful crustaceans that possess two body segments.

Krill vs. Shrimp

Krill is a small sea organism. Shrimp is a large lobster. The classification order of krill is Euphausiacea. The classification order of shrimp is Decapoda. Krill is transparent in color but offers red tinge in the presence of light. Shrimp is a colorful crustacean. Krill possess a pair of long feelers. Shrimp have a second pair of antennae as compared to krill. Krill has three body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen. Shrimp has two body segments: cephalothorax and abdomen.


Krill is a herbivore. Shrimp is an omnivore. Krill is only a detritus feeder, but shrimp have a commensal relationship with other organisms in the ocean. The life expectancy of krill is greater, which is ten years. Shrimp can live for two years. The body of krill grows to 15 cm. The body of shrimp grows up to 30 cm. Some shrimps grow less than one inch.

Krill lays thousands of eggs per year. Shrimp lays millions of eggs per year. About 85 species of krill are known today; conversely, the species of shrimp are higher, which are more than 1900 species. Krill has several legs. Shrimp owns ten legs. Krill possess auxiliary legs, and shrimp possess accessory jaws.


Comparison Chart

Krill is a small, transparent crustacean that has three body segments.Shrimp is large colorful crustaceans that possess two body segments.
SmallLarge in comparison
A pair of antennaeTwo pairs of antennae
Nutrition Mode
Ten yearsUp to two years
6 inchesUp to 12 inches
Number of Eggs
Thousands of eggs per yearMillions of eggs per year
Number of Species
85More than 1900
SeveralFive pairs of legs
Accessory Parts

What is Krill?

Krill is a crustacean type with a classification order of Euphausiacea. About 85 different species of krill exists in the world. Their body comprises three segments head, thorax, and abdomen. Carapace, a protective sheath, covers its thorax and abdomen. Krill possess a pair of antennae, and many pairs of legs joined as appendages of the thoracic region. All species possess auxiliary pairs of legs named as swimmers. Krill has compound eyes.

They are transparent after spotting of light gives a red appearance. Krill grows up to 30 cm in length. Krill is an herbivore, eats phytoplankton, a single-celled organism in oceans. It also dines on algae. Krill plays a primary role in the food chain. Baleen whales, birds, and fish eat krill.

Krill are an excellent source of omega-three fatty acids. They yield enzymes that are involved in wound repairing and cleaning contact lenses. Krill oil is used as a supplement that can be the replacement of fish oil. Krill is rich in good fats, helps to fight inflammation, used as a reliever for arthritis and joint pain, and acts as a heart-healthy substance.

Krill females lay thousands of eggs; it depends on species whether eggs remain attached on it or separate for hatching purposes. The life expectancy of krill is up to 10 years. The season is changing on the arctic and Antarctic regions; hence ice is melting. The loss of ice is declining the primary food source of ice algae. Other animals whose nutrition depends on krill are also in danger.

What is Shrimp?

Shrimps are members of a family of crustaceans. Their classification order is Decapoda with suborder Natantia. The occurrence of marine shrimps is throughout the world, from the equator to polar regions. Shrimp can survive in deep depths and all types of environments. Shrimp is a crustacean with two pairs of antennae, and double tails look like a fish.

Shrimps can grow their body more than 12 inches. But some shrimps grow small even less than 1 inch. The body of shrimp is divided into two segments abdomen and cephalothorax. Shrimp possess one pair of the jaw and five pairs of auxiliary pairs of jaws. Shrimp encompasses a long abdomen. Their living habits include the bottom of the sea. Some species are sedentary, hide itself during low tides.

Shrimps are known as cleaner shrimps as they have the power to pick off parasites from fish and fungi. Some shrimps develop commensal relationships with sea urchins and starfish. Shrimps are scavengers and feed on detritus. They silt the ocean’s sand and filter water from tiny holes to absorbs tiny living organisms. Their diet comprises of plankton and algae; hence shrimps are omnivores.

Female shrimp lays millions of eggs in a year. Their capacity for reproduction can lead to their short life expectancy. Shrimps can live up to two years. Shrimp possess high commercial value. International markets have a high demand for shrimps. Many developing countries rely on the production of shrimps to improve their economy. In the USA, Spain, Japan, and France, most of the money is spent on the production of shrimps.

Key Differences

  1. The classification order of krill is Euphausiacea whereas the classification order of shrimp is Decapoda
  2. Krill is small; on the flip side, shrimp is large as compared to krill.
  3. Krill is transparent, but when light passes, it appears as red; on the flip side, shrimp is a colorful organism.
  4. Krill have one pair of long feelers; conversely, shrimps have two pairs of antennae.
  5. Krill has three body segments named head, thorax, and abdomen; on the flip side, shrimp has two body parts called cephalothorax and abdomen.
  6. Krill is herbivore gets its food from phytoplankton and algae; conversely, shrimp is an omnivore.
  7. Krill can live for more than ten years; on the flip side, the life expectancy of shrimp is two years.
  8. Krill grows up to six inches, whereas shrimps are small as well large. It can be small less than one inch and can be large, grows up to 12 inches.
  9. Krill lays thousands of eggs in a year; conversely, shrimp lays millions of eggs per year.
  10. Krill has about 85 species throughout the world; on the other hand, the species of shrimp are more than 1900.
  11. krill has several pairs of legs, while shrimp has five pairs of legs.
  12. Krill possesses accessory pairs of legs, whereas shrimp possess accessory jaws.


Krill and Shrimp are both crustacea. Krill is a small crustacean, whose body divides as head, thorax, and abdomen. Shrimp is a colorful crustacean; whose body segments include cephalothorax and abdomen.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson