There are thousands of shrimp species worldwide. Most of them are marine and live close to the bottom or swim in midwater regions of the ocean. Some species live in estuaries, rivers and lakes. None are found on land.
Within this group of decapod crustaceans, there are two groups of shrimp: prawns and shrimp. They look very similar in appearance so scientists use differences in their anatomy and breeding behavior to tell them apart. For example, prawns do not brood their eggs but release them into the water where they develop on their own. Female shrimp, on the other hand, carry their eggs in an abdominal pouch until they hatch.
The Spot Prawn is the largest of these crustaceans on the west coast of North America. All Spot Prawns are born male. In adulthood, when it is ready to spawn, it will change from male to female. The Spot Prawn is widely eaten by human beings and is one marine species which can be sustainably harvested.
Spot Prawns typically live on hard ocean bottoms from Alaska to California, often seeking the protection of reefs or rocky outcrops.