Sea Life

Crayfish vs Lobster: A Detailed Comparison

Crayfish vs Lobster- A Detailed Comparison copy

When it comes to aquatic species, the species that are most easily confused are the Crayfish and Lobster. Despite having visual differences these two crustacean species are often not easily distinguished by human beings. The main reason behind this is that they share some similarities including the fact both are 10-pedal crustaceans. Both of these invertebrates belong to marine life and have pincers. They also share a similar trait of exoskeleton which they shed after a certain interval of time. The similarities have created a lot of trouble for people about recognizing these species. 

So today, in this article, we will have a detailed comparison of Crayfish vs Lobster.

Crayfish vs Lobster: A Detailed Comparison

Here is everything you must know about Crayfish and Lobster so you never get confused between these two aquatic lives.


Crayfish mainly lives in freshwater, which includes lakes, river, and freshwater streams. They are located in the small crevices between small rocks. In contrast, most of the Lobsters are often found in the salt water, especially in the muddy or sandy bottoms of oceans. Some of the Crayfish are somewhat able to survive for a while under this salty condition, although they can not live long enough in these circumstances.

Fun Fact: Both of these marine creatures love to roam around the bottom of the water bodies.

Scientific Classification

Crayfish is scientifically known as the Cambarus sp while the Lobster belongs to the family of Nephropidae. Although they have different classifications scientifically, they are branched up to the same class which is crustacea. 


Crayfish are often found in the reddish to bluish tones. They are also found in various shades of green from lighter to darker. The Lobster is often found in red, yellow, blue, brown, and sometimes even spotted, while blue color Lobster is believed to be the rarest version. In short, both of them are available in several colors.


On basics of size, there is a noticeable difference between Crayfish and Lobsters. Generally, Crayfish are hardly about 3 to 4 inches. But some of the breeds of Crayfish can have sizes up to 15 inches. Lobsters are often bigger than Crayfish with an average size of about 8 inches which can go up to 24 inches in total.


Crayfish are fond of eating vegetation found in freshwater. But they also consume/eat little insects and invertebrates. Surprisingly, they can eat dead or decaying material alongside other Crayfish with softshells. Lobsters, on the other hand, can eat sea urchins, crabs, and mussels and in some cases can consume other lobsters too. 


Crayfish are often preyed upon by raccoons, otters, large fishes, and even by other Crayfish(when they are in the form of eggs or babies). Lobsters are consumed by predators like seals, eels, cod, and flounder also eat Lobsters. One of the biggest predators for both Lobsters and Crayfish is Human beings as they consume it as a food source.


Crayfish and Lobsters reproduce sexually, by mating during their mating season. While Crayfish have more than 600 species only one is known to reproduce asexually, which is known as Marbled Crayfish. Crayfish mating can last for a few minutes to about an hour, while Lobster mating can last from a few minutes to several hours. Crayfish become adults in 7 to 11 years, while Lobsters reach adulthood at 5 to 8 years of age Once they are done mating, the female will produce eggs, which are later hatched into baby Crayfish and Lobsters.


Crayfish Lifecycle Starts by mating season, where a male and a female Crayfish mate. After that, the female Crayfish lays eggs. After the incubation period, these eggs will hatch into junaviles, which are essentially small Crayfish. Then they grow into adults and the Cycle goes on.

Lobsters mate at their age of maturity, then the female lays eggs. These eggs later hatched into smaller lobsters. These lobsters grow from stage 1 to stage 2, then stage 3, and finally enter into the juvenile phase. From here, they again grow as an adult and the cycle continues.


Crayfish has over 640 species in real life. This makes them quite vast and people around the world can find them inside water bodies near them. Lobsters have around 75 species, while 40 of them lack the basic identity of a lobster, which is big pincers. The rest of them do look like normal Lobster as they do have pincers with their bodies. Lobsters also have an ability that allows them to generate new claws or antenna on its body, in case it has to face some unforeseen circumstances.

Fun Fact: Lobsters lack basic vocal cords, so technically they can not produce sound from their mouth.

Source of Human Food

Whether it’s a Crayfish or a Lobster, these two species from the crustacea class are commonly consumed as a food source by humans. Humans have a variety of ways to utilize them as a part of their different and authentic dishes. In some regions, breaking and cooking a Lobster is considered as a skill set. To cook a lobster, usually, the head is first placed in boiling water (which may sound vicious). On the other hand, to cook a Crayfish, boiling salty water and then putting Crayfish in it is the easiest way to prepare it for your meal. 

Lobsters are enjoyed in a variety of ways including Lobster mac and cheese, Lobster rolls, and Lobster thermoid, which is a delicate sea cuisine in multiple regions. Crayfish are often enjoyed as fried, in the form of bread, and crab stuffed in crayfish is also a delicacy in a few areas of the world.


Both Crayfish and Lobster, while belonging to the same class do have some decent amount of differentiation factors between them. While they are often confused due to their similar appearances, they still have visible differences that set them apart from each other. In short, now you have the knowledge, after reading this article of how to differentiate and compare a Crayfish and a Lobster.

About the author