Prawns are found along the Pacific coast of North America from Alaska to southern California. Their range also extends to Asia, with significant populations off the coasts of Korea and Japan. Prawns live in subtidal sandy and rocky habitats, at ocean depths ranging from the intertidal zone to 400 metres below, but normally at a depth of at least 70 metres.
Prawns vary in colour from a dark red to an orange-red or pink; juveniles are sometimes green or brown. Running horizontally across their head are several white lines. They have a smooth, glossy body with an abdomen divided into several segments, the first and fifth bearing a distinctive white spot. They are a hermaphroditic species that begins life as male and becomes female in its later years. Prawns grow to about 20 centimetres, and live for four years.
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