Horseshoe Crab Love Fests
Horseshoe crabs are not crabs. They're more related to spiders and scorpions.
Gentle creatures that can't even pinch you, their only defense is their weird
helmet shaped shell and their telsons (tail-like things) which they use
to help flip over if they find themselves upside-down and vulnerable.
There are 4 living species in the world today and they're always found on east coasts.
These are Limulus Polyphemus, the American Horseshoe "crab".
The only living relatives of the ancient trilobites, they have remained
pretty much unchanged for around 445 million years!
Their eggs provide food for many migrating birds,
and their copper-based blue blood is the only substance known
for testing injectable medication for bacterial contamination!
So they're extremely valuable to the pharmaceutical industry.
Man has more than one "best friend."
Anyone who has had an intravenous injection has horseshoe crabs to thank!
But they're now declining in numbers, mostly due to fishermen overusing them as bait.
Environmentalists around the world are now working to save them.
Horseshoe Crab Conservation Website
New York Horsechoe Crab Monitoring Network
Click on any of the images below to see a larger version.
Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center - Jones Beach, NY 5/31/07
Little Bay Park, NY, 5/18/08