Types Of Shellfish

11 Different Types of Shellfish

Do you love seafood? There’s nothing better than indulging in a plate of succulent shellfish from the sea.

But what types of shellfish can you enjoy? From clams to crabs, oysters to scallops, an amazing array of different shellfish are sure to tantalize your taste buds!

This blog post will explore the 11 main shellfish categories and discuss their unique rich flavors, soft textures, and health benefits.

Whether you’re looking for new recipes or just curious about the various species swimming around in our oceans – grab a fork and get ready for an epic culinary adventure!


Lobsters are often seen as a delicacy in many cuisines.

This species of crustacean belongs to the family of Nephropidae and is closely related to shrimp and crabs. Lobsters have a two-part claw: the crusher claw, which pushes into softer objects like seaweed, and the pincer claw, which grasps more rigid materials such as mussels or other shellfish.

They can be found near the bottom of shallow bodies of water, such as coves and estuaries.

Types Of Shellfish
Types Of Shellfish For A Crowd

Unlike other seafood species, lobsters molt their external shell as they grow larger and form new shells from them. Because of their incredible flavor profile, lobsters have become a sought-after choice in seafood restaurants and famed chefs worldwide.

Can You Freeze Leftover Lobster?


Shrimp is a popular type of shellfish, often eaten for its sweet taste and delicate texture. It can be cooked in various ways: boiling, steaming, grilling, pasta dish, and even deep-frying.

How Much Shrimp Per Person to Feed 20 People

Compared to other types of shellfish, shrimp have a mild flavor and smaller size, making them nimble eaters.

Moreover, shrimp are low in fat and calories yet high in calcium and antioxidants!

Shrimp differs from other shellfish like crabs and lobster in that it has an exoskeleton instead of an internal one.

They also generally require less cooking time than some other shellfish, allowing you to enjoy their unique flavor sooner.

Shrimps Are One Of The Most Popular Shellfish We Feeding a Crowd
Shrimps Are One Of The Most Popular Shellfish When Feeding a Crowd


Crab is an incredibly diverse shellfish in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is especially popular in the cuisine of seafood-loving nations like Japan, the U.K., China, and Italy.

Crab meat can be boiled, steamed, or used in soup or salads; there are many recipes to choose from when preparing crab! It is a much sought-after delicacy as it has a distinct flavor and soft, flaky texture that sets it apart from other shellfish.

Crab meat is delicate and tender, unlike other shellfish, which tend to be chewy and firm in texture.

Additionally, its flavor profile contrasts with oysters or clams, which can be described as faintly sweet with hints of brine – especially if cooked well! It’s worth trying and a sure favorite for seafood lovers!


Scallops are oval-shaped shellfish of the mollusk family, commonly included as a type of seafood.

While they generally resemble clams, they do have some distinctive differences. Whereas clams have two distinct shells that are connected together, scallops typically only possess one wide and flat shell with semi-circle indentations along the edge.

Another way to identify a scallop is to look at the adductor muscle—the fleshy part found in the center of a scallop—which is larger and thicker than other types of shellfish like mussels or oysters.

They also have a more pronounced flavor than their counterparts, making them very popular in many seafood industries and for fancy dinners, from seared pairs to stews.


Mussels are shellfish commonly found in the wild and farmed worldwide. Unlike most other shellfish, they live on hard surfaces or beds where they attach themselves using tiny grappling hooks on their very versatile feet.

Mussels have much thinner shells and are darker than other shellfish, like clams and oysters.

Although all types of shellfish hold some nutritional value, mussels stand out as an especially good source of iron, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins D and B12.

Mussels also require minimal cooking time when preparing them compared to other varieties of shellfish, usually needing just five minutes or less before being fully cooked.

When it comes to flavor, mussels have a mild taste and absorb delicious flavors from whatever herbs or spices you may use while cooking them.


Prawns resemble small lobsters in size and shape. Native to tropical and subtropical regions, they have a sweet flavor, with slightly firmer flesh than other shellfish like shrimp or langoustines.

Prawns are omnivorous scavengers, which means they feed on tiny particles they can find in fresh water.

Unlike crustaceans such as crabs or lobsters, prawns have no claws.

They can be boiled, grilled, or fried and are popularly served as part of various seafood dishes. Their shells can also be used as stocks for tasty soups and sauces.


Crawfish, also known as crayfish, are small shellfish belonging to the crustacean family.

This type of shellfish is found all over the world, particularly favored for its size and taste in places like North America and Europe.

Unlike shrimp or lobster, Crawfish are typically smaller and possess a softer shell. With a subtly sweet flavor from its fat tail meat, this shellfish makes an excellent addition to soups and stews.

As this crustacean requires little cooking time compared to other shellfish, it’s a popular ingredient in several dishes such as étouffée and gumbos.

Crawfish also contains abundant vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for human health and perfect for a seafood feast.


Oysters can be found both in saltwater and freshwater environments. They vary significantly from other types of shellfish in their appearance – oysters have a rough, irregular-shaped shell with one flat and one cupped side, whereas many others have more regularly-shaped shells.

For example, mussels have tightly closed, smooth shells, while scallops feature two flat shells connected by a hinge or adductor muscle that allows them to open and close.

Oysters have gills inside their shells which help them filter food from the surrounding water.

In addition, they are filter feeders that consume planktonic organisms such as smaller mollusks, crustaceans, or algae – whereas other shellfish mainly eat sessile invertebrates such as sea worms or clams.

Oysters also differ from other shellfish in preparation; typically, they are opened with an oyster knife and shucked before being consumed raw or cooked with a saltier flavor.


An octopus is a mollusk belonging to the family of cephalopods, squid, and cuttlefish.

They are typically identified by their eight legs which contain two rows of suction cups to help them crawl and catch prey—one of the main differences between octopus and other shellfish such as lobsters, shrimp, and crabs.

Octopuses also have advanced intelligence to use tools and remember certain pathways or places.

Because they are relatively low in fat and rich in vitamins, minerals, and some omega-3 fatty acids, octopus is becoming increasingly popular as an ingredient in many dishes. It absorbs flavors very easily, making it a versatile addition to various recipes.


Clams are edible shellfish that can vary in size and shape, with some being bigger than your hands to other species no larger than the tip of your thumb. Clams typically have two shells held together by a tough ligament, calcium carbonate, or chitin.

Unlike oysters, mussels, and scallops, clams tend to be easier to source fresh due to their larger grains of sand they live in, as well as their strong liquid mantle.

They can be enjoyed raw (if their meaty texture and salty flavor are what you’re looking for!) or cooked in various styles, such as steamed, baked, fried, and broiled.

Whether you try them out of the shell or not, clams are bound to impact any plate by taking up lots of flavors from the ingredients used during preparation.


Squid is widely known for its unique shape and texture. It has a cylindrical body, two extended tentacles, and ten short ones, which set it apart from other shells commonly seen on the shelves of grocery stores.

Besides its physical characteristics, squid stands out from the other shellfish because of its distinct flavor profile.

Its mild yet sweet taste allows chefs to create various recipes without overpowering the dish with too much fishy flavor, like other types of shellfish are known for.

While squid can be eaten raw, it is best enjoyed lightly cooked – grilled or stir-fried – or in popular dishes such as calamari. So use your imagination next time you head to the store and check if there’s any squid in stock!

Bottom Line 

Shellfish are a popular and delicious seafood, offering various flavors. From succulent lobster to the mild and sweet taste of crab or mussels, shellfish can be an enjoyable experience for all palates.

However, people with allergies and dietary preferences must consider their own needs before eating, as shellfish can be a source of food poisoning for some or an allergen for others. Ultimately it’s best to determine if shellfish is the right choice for you before digging in!