Macrobrachium is a freshwater shrimp genus belonging to the Palaemonidae family. Its main characteristic is an extremely extended of second pair of thoracic legs.
Crayfish (called langostino in Mexico) and related varieties are found on both Mexican coasts.
In Mexico, crayfish are named differently according to the region in which they are found and as well because they in fact hail from different species: langostino, camarón de río, camarón de agua dulce, acamaya, pigua, camarón moya, cauque, chacal, and camarón prieto, among other names.
Size and color vary by species; some measure up to 25 cm. they are more robust crustaceans than shrimp due to their harder, thicker shells and range in hue from grayish brown to bluish gray. Their bodies consist of a cephalo-thorax (head) and an abdomen. Their legs grow according to different sizes and configurations; the first serve as claws that grab and shred prey; the remaining legs are for movement. Crawfishes’ antennae and whiskers navigate and communicate. Their extremities are articulated and end in crab-like claws.
They are harvested at sea or can be farmed. Wild crayfish live in rivers, lakes and in freshwater streams as well as estuaries.
In Mexico, crawfish such as Macrobrachium Carcinus, Macrobrachium tenellum, Macrobrachium rosenbergii and Macrobrachium acanthurus flourish along the Gulf’s marine slopes. Pacific species include Macrobrachium americanum and Macrobrachium rosenbergii.
Important species in terms of consumption and economic activity include:
Macrobrachium americanum, a species found in rivers, lakes and ponds that features white meat that is juicy and delicious. The best specimens are harvested from July to December.
Macrobrachium rosenbergii, an Asian prawn that has adapted to Mexico’s freshwater environments that also features juicy white meat whose flavor lies somewhere between shrimp and lobster. Most are farmed and are therefore available year round.
Macrobrachium Carcinus and acanthurus, langostinos de río (freshwater prawns), acamayas or piguas have a yellow carapace with blue tonalities, white flesh, and a juicy, delicious taste. They are found in fresh or brackish waters and at the mouths of rivers. The best specimens are caught during the rainy season; when farmed, langostinos de río are available all year.
Most langostino crayfish are rich in iodine and protein.
They are available whole as well as fresh and frozen (with or without shells and/or heads), raw, cooked or precooked.
Mexicans eat langostinos whole and fresh. They can be roasted; when boiled, they are served in rice, pasta and stews; they can also be pickled or marinated, then cooked; or serve as base for broths and soups. They can be prepared simply, boiled then peeled and finally dressed in lime juice, salt and hot sauce.


Crawfish huatape