shrimp sizes

Diverse World of Shrimp Sizes: From Tiny to Jumbo (Facts & Figures) 2024

Last Updated on March 13, 2024 by themubbi63

Shrimp Size

The classification of shrimp can be quite a confusing one. No one can agree on what exactly counts as a shrimp. And in fact, many species that bear the name of ‘shrimp’ like the fairy shrimp, brine shrimp, skeleton shrimp etc aren’t even shrimp at all. They look quite different from the commercial shrimp that we farm and eat.

Called alternatively shrimp or prawn depending on whether you’re from the British Commonwealth or North America, here are some of the most interesting types found around the world.

Common Shrimp Size

Shrimp Size, shrimp size chart, shrimp size inches,  shrimp size and weight large

The common shrimp (Crangon crangon) is also often called the sand shrimp, brown shrimp or bay shrimp. It’s found across the whole of the northeastern Atlantic Ocean, from Russia down to the coast of Morocco.

Brown in color with some reddish spots, these shrimp don’t reach very large sizes. The average shrimp is around 1.2 – 2 inches long (3 – 5 cm). However, there have been specimens that were 3.5 inches (9 cm) in length. Like with most shrimp, females are usually bigger than males.

Common ShrimpLength in InchesLength in Centimeters
Male0.2 – 2.20.5 – 5.5 
Female0.2 – 3.30.5 – 8.5

Pistol Shrimp Size

Part of the snapping shrimp family, pistol shrimp (Alpheus heterochaelis) have asymmetrical claws. One fun fact about them? They can compete with whales much, much larger than them (for example, the sperm whale) as one of the loudest animals in the sea. It can create a very loud sound by snapping its one large claw and stunning its opponent. Thus, the name pistol shrimp.

The pistol shrimp is actually quite small, averaging 1.2 – 2 inches (3 – 5 cm). A large part of its size is made up of the disproportionately large claw. Males are noticeably larger than females in this species.

Pistol ShrimpLength in InchesLength in Centimeters
Male 0.4 – 1.21 – 3
Female1.2 – 2.23 – 5.5

Colossal Shrimp: Giants of the Sea

Colossal shrimp are aptly named, representing the largest commercially available shrimp variety. Following are the impressive shrimp size and weight:

  • Size: Colossal shrimp size typically ranges from 8 to 12 inches (20.3 – 30.5 cm) in length, This shrimp size inches with some reaching up to 13 inches (33 cm). Their weight can vary from 0.75 to 1.3 ounces (21.3 – 36.9 grams) per shrimp.

Colossal shrimp size chart

SizeLength (inches)Length (centimeters)Weight (ounces per shrimp)Weight (grams per shrimp)
  • An average large shrimp measures 3-5 inches (7.6-12.7 cm).
  • Colossal shrimp are nearly double the size of large shrimp.

Pink Shrimp Size

Pink shrimp (Pandalus borealis) is a species of fish that mostly stays in the cold parts of the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. They’re sometimes also called northern prawns or deepwater prawns or Nordic shrimp. They’re very commonly used for human consumption and are typically the kind of shrimp that we eat.

They can grow pretty big in size compared to some other species of shrimp. Males are generally 4.7 inches in length while females are 6.5 inches long. They grow very fast.

Pink ShrimpLength in InchesLength in Centimeters
Male4.7 – 5.912 – 15
Female6.5 – 7.916.5 – 20

Emperor Shrimp Size

You’d expect something called the emperor shrimp (Periclimenes imperator) to be big. But it’s actually a very small animal that spends its whole life hitching rides on other creatures. You’ll never spot an emperor shrimp on its own but always on the back of some other animal. It also helps this animal by eating the parasites on its skin.

Thus, emperor shrimp are quite small. They don’t grow more than 0.78 inches from the head to the bottom of its tail. 

AnimalLength in InchesLength in Centimeters
Emperor Shrimp0.16 – 0.780.4 – 2

Related article: Dolphins In Myrtle Beach: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Boxer Shrimp Size

Boxer shrimp is the name given to an entire group of crustaceans, of which the most well-known is probably the banded coral shrimp (Stenopus hispidus). These shrimp are often called cleaner shrimp because they clean other creatures of parasites by eating them. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship between the fish and the shrimp.

These kinds of shrimp are very pretty and thus aren’t eaten. You’ll find them most often being reared for aquariums. The banded coral shrimp is one of these. They’re found in tropical regions but can extend to temperate climates like parts of Canada as well. They reach an average length of 2.4 inches or 6 cm but bigger 

AnimalLength in InchesLength in Centimeters
Boxer Shrimp (Banded Coral Shrimp)2.4 – 3.96 – 10

Giant Tiger Prawn Size

The giant tiger prawn (Penaeus monodon) has several other names, including Asian tiger shrimp and black tiger shrimp. It occurs naturally in the Indo-Pacific, from the eastern coast of Africa to southeast Asia and Australia. However, it’s now become an invasive species in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.

It’s widely reared for food and is very popular in Asian cuisines particularly. A giant tiger prawn can be quite big, with females reaching lengths of 13 inches and males 10 inches.

Giant Tiger PrawnLengthWeight
Males8 – 10 inches (20 – 25 cm)3.5 – 6 oz (100 – 170 g)
Females10 – 13 inches (25 – 33 cm)7 – 11 oz (200 – 320 g)

Humpback Shrimp Size

Humpback shrimp (Pandalus hypsinotus) happens to be very popular in Japan. You’ll find them in restaurants that specialize in sushi and sashimi. The Japanese call them Toyama shrimp but in the USA it’s known as humpback shrimp. This is because of the prominent ridge found on its head.

 It’s mostly found in the Bering Sea and can grow to pretty large sizes. In fact, while the average for this type of shrimp is around 3.9 – 4.9 inches, some females can grow up to 6.9 inches.

Humpback ShrimpLength in InchesLength in Centimeters
Males3.9 – 4.910 – 12.5
Females3.9 – 6.910 – 17.5

Related Article: Sharks In Greenland: Everything You Need To Know About Them

California Syncaris Prawn

This freshwater shrimp or prawn lives in a very limited range. The Syncaris Pacifica can only be found within the San Francisco Bay Area in California, USA. Thus, it’s an endangered species. The males and the juvenile shrimp appear to be almost translucent. However, the mature females are often brown.

These shrimp reach a maximum size of 1.9 inches or 5 cm. It’s believed that females tend to be slightly larger than the males.

AnimalLength in InchesLength in Centimeters
California Syncaris Prawn1.95


The shrimp world offers a surprising size range. From the colossal Giant Tiger Prawn to the minute Emperor Shrimp, each species plays a vital ecological role. And that’s all you have to know about the size of shrimp. I hope this article was helpful and that you gained something valuable from it.


How big do shrimp get?

Shrimp sizes vary significantly. The Giant Tiger Prawn reaches a massive 13 inches, while the Emperor Shrimp is a mere 0.78 inches.

What’s the difference between shrimp size and “prawn”?

Terminology can differ by region. Generally, “prawn” refers to larger shrimp species.

Are there any extra-small shrimp varieties?

Yes! The California Syncaris Prawn only reaches 1.9 inches and is sadly endangered.

What factors influence shrimp size?

Species, gender, and environmental factors all play a role in shrimp size. Females are often larger than males in most species.

Scroll to Top