Crawfish vs Crayfish

Written by Krishna Maxwell
Updated: November 2, 2022
Share this post on:

Key Points

  • Crawfish and crayfish are actually the same, they just go by different names in different areas.
  • Crawfish are small, freshwater crustaceans that look like small lobsters.
  • Regardless what name they go by, they are considered a delicacy, particularly in the South.

No matter where you live, you’ve probably heard people talk about crawfish, crayfish, and crawdads. It’s common to wonder what the difference is between crawfish vs crayfish. Believe it or not, there is no difference at all. Crawfish and crayfish are actually the same. They have so many different names because of regional differences in vernacular, but people are talking about the same creature no matter which name they go by.

Keep reading to find out why these creatures have so many different names. We’ll also talk about where to find them, what they look like, and how they taste. Crayfish vs Crawfish- what should we call them?

Crawfish vs Crayfish: Which is Correct?

Before we dive into naming conventions, let’s talk about what these creatures are. Crawfish are small, freshwater crustaceans. They look like small lobsters but are only found in freshwater rivers and streams. These little crustaceans have so many names that it’s no wonder people think they are referring to more than one animal.

Crayfish vs Crawfish, or maybe, they’re Crawdaddies? Depending on where you live, you might hear these creatures called:

  • Crayfish
  • Crawdads
  • Crawdaddies
  • Mountain lobster
  • Rock lobster

What you call these animals essentially just comes down to where in the world you grew up. In North America, Northerners usually call them “crayfish.” People from the West Coast and parts of the Midwest call them “crawdads,” and Southerners typically call them “crawfish.”

The other names for them tend to be used in specific regions, usually as a kind of slang. It gets even more confusing if you travel the world, however. In Australia, they’re called “yabbies” or “kouras,” and in Singapore, they’re called freshwater lobsters.

If you want to get technical, “crayfish” is the accepted term in standard American English. However, when you’re cooking or dining, “crawfish” is the more widely used term.

Where Can I Find Crayfish?

Crayfish can be found just about anywhere that has shallow, slow-moving freshwater. This includes lakes, streams, ponds, swamps, and rivers. There are more than 400 species, and 250 of them live in North America. This means that these little creatures are pretty easy to find no matter where you live.

If you have ever spent any time playing in a creek, you are sure to have seen some of these guys at some point in time. They like to hide under rocks, so if you go looking for them, find some shallow water and start turning over rocks. You are bound to find some.

What Does a Crayfish Look Like?

Crayfish are crustaceans that resemble miniature lobsters. They have a pronounced pair of strong pinching claws, a tough carapace, and a broad, flat tail. Most crayfish are deep blue or red in color, but certain species can look greenish-black or brown as well.

How Do Crayfish Taste?

Whether you call them crawfish, crayfish, or something else entirely, these little crustaceans are considered a delicacy just about anywhere in the world. They feature in a variety of seafood dishes, and in places like Louisiana and the Deep South, they’re an essential part of authentic seafood gumbo and other regional cuisines.

Crawfish have a distinct, meaty taste that differs from lobster’s more delicate flavor. The meat is usually described as sweet, and they give off a strong aroma when cooked.

Up Next

Crawfish vs Crayfish
Crawfish vs Crayfish
A-Z-Animals.com
Share this post on:
About the Author

Krishna is a lifelong animal owner and advocate. She owns and operates a small farm in upstate New York which she shares with three dogs, four donkeys, one mule, and a cat. She holds a Bachelors in Agricultural Technology and has extensive experience in animal health and welfare. When not working with her own animals and tending her farm, Krishna is helping other animal owners with behavior or management issues and teaching neighboring farmers about Regenerative Agriculture practices.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the difference between a crawfish vs. crayfish?

There is no difference other than naming conventions. Crawfish, crayfish, and crawdad all refer to the same small, freshwater crustacean. Different names are more common in particular regions, especially in North America, but they all mean the same thing.

Why is a crayfish called crawfish?

The term “crayfish” comes from a French word, ecrevisse. “Crawfish” is an informal derivation of the original word that French Cajuns most often use.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.