Why Are Shrimp Called The Cockroaches Of The Sea? [Explained]

Shrimp are one of the most common animals on Earth.

There are plenty of shrimp swimming around the ocean, making them part of the regular diet of bigger fish and humans. 

On the other hand, cockroaches are well-known for being pests, and many people are scared of them – especially the flying ones!

Many people ask if shrimp and cockroaches are related to each other. They also ask why shrimp are called the cockroaches of the sea because shrimp look like cockroaches.

Here’s the TL;DR:

Shrimp are called cockroaches of the sea because they have many similarities with cockroaches. Shrimp and cockroaches have similar eating habits, are both cold-blooded, share common behavioral traits, and are both scavengers.

Let’s dive into the key similarities and differences between cockroaches and shrimp.

Are Shrimp Related To Cockroaches?

Yes! Shrimp and cockroaches are related, but they are not the same because shrimp is a crustacean while the cockroach is an insect. Shrimp and cockroaches belong to the same phylum Arthropoda and they have the same ancestors, making them related.

Shrimp are only distantly related to cockroaches and they are not truly the same as most people think. People think that these two animals are the same because of the various similarities they have. They disregard the fact that shrimp are water animals and cockroaches are land animals, which is the reason why they cannot be the same. 

Cockroaches are land animals, and they are insects; whereas shrimp are water animals, and they are crustaceans.

They may be related because they have some similarities in the way they look and their physical appearances, but they are still vastly not the same. 

Are Cockroaches And Shrimp From The Same Family?

Shrimp and cockroaches may have the same features. They may have the same physical appearance and behavioral traits. Even though they have some similarities, shrimp and cockroaches are not still the same. 

Are cockroaches and shrimp from the same family? No. Cockroaches and shrimp are not from the same family. Shrimp are under Malacostraca, while cockroaches are insects that are under Hexapoda. They may have some similarities, but they don’t have any similarities when it comes to the family tree. 

Shrimp and cockroaches have the same personalities and behavioral traits, but they don’t have any similarities when it comes to the family tree. Yep, we are going to talk about the similarities between cockroaches and shrimp. We are also going to talk about their differences, so keep reading! 

Similarities Of Shrimp And Cockroaches

We are going to unroll the different similarities between shrimp and cockroaches so that you will understand why shrimp is called the cockroaches of the sea. Below are the different similarities between shrimp and cockroaches:

Shrimp Has Exoskeleton Like Cockroaches

Shrimp and cockroaches have a hard exoskeleton that protects them from various injuries that they might get. Their strong exoskeleton is also built for defense against their predators so that their predators will have a hard time crushing them. If their predator failed to bite them, then they could have a chance to escape.

However, even though shrimp and cockroaches both have a strong exoskeleton, it is not still a hundred percent effective. Why? Because there are animals that have enough bite force to crush them into pieces. This is one of their similarities. That is why they are related to each other. 

Shrimp And Cockroach Have Many Legs

Shrimp and cockroaches both have many legs, which makes them related to each other. Their legs are also quite similar when you look at them. The legs of the shrimp and cockroaches may have a spiky appearance, but their legs are not harmful to humans. 

Shrimp and cockroaches need many legs for them to walk and swim. These legs support their body, and it helps them to maintain balance when moving. They might lose their legs if predators or humans attack them. If shrimp and cockroaches lose their legs, they will become more vulnerable and easy to kill. 

This is the other similarity shrimp, and cockroaches have. They both have many legs, and their legs are very essential for them. When they lose their legs, they become more vulnerable and easy to target. It is like losing a leg means losing life for them.

Shrimp And Cockroach Have Long Antennas

A cockroach and shrimp are related because of the looks of their antenna. Yep, they both have an antenna, and their antennas look very similar. Both of their antennas have scales, and their antennas help them to sense various things like danger. 

The antennas of shrimp and cockroaches allow them to detect and sense the temperature of the objects that are near to them. Their antennas can also help them to detect food, and their surroundings. Because of their antenna, shrimp and cockroach will never collide with any object when traveling. 

When shrimp and cockroaches have no antennas, they will have a hard time moving around. Their antennas help them to sense the humidity around their surroundings. They can sense food and sense predators if they have their antennas. 

If shrimp and cockroaches lose their antennas, then their life will be done. Why? Because they won’t sense food, and they won’t sense if there are predators near them.

If they don’t sense that there are predators near them, they can get eaten effortlessly. Losing their antennas makes them useless and vulnerable to various dangers. 

Shrimp And Cockroach Are Both Fast

Cockroaches can run fast, and they can also fly fast, which is scary for most people. Shrimp can also swim fast, especially if they are in danger. Both shrimp and cockroaches are fast, and their speed helps them to easily flee away from their predators. They can speed up anytime whenever they feel danger.

Shrimp And Cockroach Have The Same Eating Habit

The other reason why shrimp is called the cockroaches of the sea is that shrimp have a similar eating habit with cockroaches. Shrimp eats dead plants, dead animals like fish, and other living organisms that were once living organisms. 

Same as cockroaches. Cockroaches are omnivorous insects that feed on dead plants and dead animals. They also like human foods like sweets, meats, and biscuits. Cockroaches are not picky eaters. They eat anything that they found on the land. 

This is why shrimp and cockroaches are related to each other. Both of them are scavengers that feed on dead plants and animals that were once breathing and living. They have the same taste in food that makes them related to each other.

Shrimp And Cockroach Are Cold-blooded

The other reason that makes cockroaches and shrimp related to each other is because they are both cold-blooded animals. Shrimp are crustaceans, and all crustaceans are cold-blooded. Cockroaches are also cold-blooded.

However, even though cockroaches are cold-blooded, they cannot still live in very cold places. When you put a cockroach in a place that has zero degrees Fahrenheit, it will die. Cockroaches cannot survive in that kind of temperature.

Differences Between Shrimp And Cockroaches

Differences Between Shrimp And Cockroaches

Now that we are done talking about the similarities of shrimp and cockroaches, let us talk next about their differences. These differences will prove to you that shrimps and cockroaches may be related to each other, but they are not still the same. 

Shrimp Are Aquatic And Cockroach Are Terrestrial

Shrimp are aquatic animals, while cockroaches are terrestrial animals. Yep, they may have some similarities, but their habitats are different. Cockroaches cannot swim, and if they attempt, they might get drowned easily. 

Shrimp And Cockroach Have Different Number Of Legs

Both shrimp and cockroaches have many legs. However, the quantity of their legs differs. Shrimp have eight legs, while cockroaches have six legs. Yes, both have many legs, but the number of their legs are different. 

Shrimp And Cockroach Have Different Body Segments

The other difference between shrimp and cockroaches is their body segments. Cockroaches are insects, and insects have three body segments. On the other hand, shrimps are not insects, which means they don’t have the same body segments as cockroaches. Shrimp have two body segments. 

Shrimp Are Crustaceans And Cockroach Is A Bug

Shrimp and cockroaches are both members of the phylum Arthropoda. However, they differ in the family they belong to. Shrimp belong to crustaceans, while cockroaches belong to insects. They may have the same appearances, but the family they came from is different. 

How Long Do Shrimp And Cockroaches Live?

Shrimps and cockroaches have the same average lifespan. Cockroaches live for one to two years, while shrimps live for one to six years. Male cockroaches may live for one year, but female cockroaches live for two years. The lifespan of a shrimp depends on different factor and their species. 

What Do Shrimp Eat?

Shrimp eats anything they see in the ocean. Like I have said, shrimp are scavengers like cockroaches. Roaches and shrimps love to eat dead plants and animals. Both of them can eat any large animals, as long as the animal is already cold dead. 

Can Shrimp Survive Out Of The Sea?

Shrimp and cockroaches have many similarities, but they are not the same when it comes to habitat. Roaches live in the land while shrimps live under the sea. However, if shrimp will be taken outside of the sea, will they be able to live?

Can shrimp survive out of the sea? Some shrimp may survive out of the water for a short period only. They cannot live without water. Shrimp are water animals that can only breathe under the water.

Cockroaches cannot live under the water for a very long time. Roaches are land creatures, which means they can only live on the land. They can float in the water, but for a short period only.

Are Shrimp Bugs?

Nope! They are not bugs! Shrimps are not bugs or insects because they are called crustaceans. Yes, shrimp and cockroaches are both arthropods, but this doesn’t mean that shrimp are insects like roaches. There are many arguments about whether a shrimp is an insect or not. However, in today’s modern science, shrimps are officially classified as crustaceans and not bugs.


Shrimp are called the cockroaches of the sea because of the many similarities they have with the roaches. However, even though they are called the cockroaches of the sea, they are not still the same as the cockroaches. 

It may be quite confusing to differentiate the two because of the same appearances they have. But keep in mind that shrimps are crustaceans while cockroaches are insects. There is no reason you will be confused about these two animals because the differences are quite obvious. 

If you want more articles like this, go to the main menu above and click the fun facts under the other category. Hoping for your visit again soon and hoping that you like our articles! Peace!

Jake Willhoite
Jake runs AnimalDome.com and has had cats and dogs his entire life. As a kid his family adopted several dogs from the local shelter which set him down the path of animal rescue.
Photo of author