How do prawns, crayfish, and shrimp differ?

As so often happens, common names are used loosely and inconsistently in the shrimp family. The "prawn" of Great Britain and other countries is essentially the same animal as the shrimp of the United States, the only biological difference being that prawns have their second abdominal flap (counting from the head towards the tail) overlapping the first and the third. In this country, the term "shrimp" applies to all crustaceans of the Natantia group, regardless of size. "Crayfish" or "crawfish" are names given to both a common freshwater crustacean and to the saltwater spiny lobster.