Every year, 7.4 billion pounds of wild shrimp are harvested from the ocean.
That’s right! We add it to enchiladas, rice, noodles, and salad. We’ve even managed to turn this insect into a banger cocktail!
This is surprising, considering humans hate almost all other insects.
But perhaps the worst kind of nuisance is Cockroaches- the gross, oily-skinned pests that scurry around in the dark and make your skin crawl with their suspicious behavior.
Shrimps are often nicknamed Cockroaches of the Sea.
But are cockroaches and shrimps related? Find out here.
Shrimps vs Cockroaches: Taxonomy
Taxonomically speaking, they do share some similarities. They are both members of the phylum Arthropoda and have some familiar body shape and structure characteristics.
And that’s where it ends.
Leaving a few generic similarities, cockroaches and shrimps CANNOT be called related.
But the question remains.
Why, then, are shrimps called marine cockroaches?
Indeed there is a valid reason to equate your favorite seafood with your greatest fear.
Simple. It’s because, just like their counterparts on land, shrimps eat anything- dead or alive. For this reason, they’re called Scavengers, just like roaches.
Thankfully, the name has nothing to do with common ancestors, just dietary preferences.
Do Shrimps And Cockroaches Share A History?
The short answer is NO.
Granted, they are from the same PHYLUM, which is Arthropod.
However, they are placed in two different CLASSES if we dig deeper. While a cockroach is in the class- Insect, the shrimp is in the category- of Crustacea.
Seems confusing, right?
Let me explain.
Scientists classify all plants and animals into separate groups based on their commonalities.
This makes it easier to organize the vast animal kingdom and study organisms lucidly and detailed.
For example, your pet cat is taxonomically related to tigers, lions, and cheetahs.
They are all mammals, have quick reflexes, and eat meat. They also look similar if you come to think of it.
The same logic applies to shrimps and cockroaches.
They both have hard ‘bones’ on their outsides, called exoskeletons. They also share segmented bodies and six legs.
This division places them in separate subgroups, the only similarity being that insects have now been considered crustaceans too, and so are malacostracans.
Therefore, it can be argued that the two insects shared a distant common ancestor before finally choosing separate evolutionary paths some 440 million years ago.
Shrimps and Cockroaches: Family Tree
They are now coming to their families. Cockroaches and shrimps don’t even belong to a single family!
To date, researchers have discovered some 4,600 cockroach species classified under eight cockroach families. This vast repository has been placed under the order Blattodea.
The two most common type of cockroaches is German and American cockroaches which are generally seen by people around.
Shrimp have a larger world to call their own, considering their infinite taxonomic combinations.
Therefore, comparing shrimps to cockroaches would be similar to comparing Humans to Dinosaurs.
We may have come from Dinosaurs, but that was long ago and didn’t count.
Similarities Between Shrimps and Cockroaches
It would be inaccurate to say that these two insects are 100% dissimilar. However, they do share some everyday habits. Let’s take a look at these:
On average, both of them have a somewhat similar lifespan. Although some variations may be based on species, cockroaches live for 1-2.5 years, and shrimp live for 1-6 years.
Click here to read more about cockroaches’ life cycle.
Cockroaches and shrimps have similar-looking antennae, dotted with scales and fulfilling various functions (thermal, tactile, and humidity senses).
Speed and Movement:
Cockroaches are swift runners and tend to scurry away when threatened. Some roaches can even fly.
Underwater, shrimps have been documented to be quick swimmers, too, successfully evading marine predators with their skill.
So, now you know the science behind the names. You can heave a sigh of relief and continue enjoying your seafood.
Shrimps and cockroaches are distinct insects that had familiar parents many years ago.
But now, they are separate species with little to no similarity whatsoever.