Thursday, June 10, 2010

Horseshoe Crabs: Round 2

Friday, as the sun set, we visited Sandy Point in search of horseshoe crabs.

Horseshoe crabs visit estuaries up and down the east coast of North America to spawn.

Peak spawning activity is during the evening high tide during either a full moon or new moon.

Last year we joined a kayak trip in search of horseshoe crabs.

This year, we decided it would be much simpler to just drive to Sandy Point to look for them on foot.

We saw one crab swimming at the boat ramp.

Two crabs making their way toward a large group of crabs.

And finally, a rather large group of crabs.

Fun facts about horseshoe crabs:
  • Their blood is blue
  • They're a very primitive creature
  • They do not bite or sting
  • Their blood is used to test the purity of medicines
  • Horseshoe crabs are not edible
  • The American horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) lives on the west coast of the Atlantic Ocean from Maine to the Yucatan
  • Horseshoe crabs are not actually crabs. They are related to scorpions, ticks and spiders.


Delighted Hands said...

Very interesting......just recently I watched a special on Nova (I think) about these guys. I like to find them here-sometimes they are stranded upside down and we always tip them back and send them back into the water with fond adieus!

Anonymous said...

Horseshoe crabs are awesome - such fun to watch them, especially when they're together in pairs or little groups!!

Kelly said...

Very cool! I have really been enjoying all your photographs!

Synnøve. said...

I saw a program on tv not long ago about this guys.
I like to watcht such programs beacuse you learn something new everytime.
The life in the see are so exithing to learn about.
Like your photos verry much.

Hugs from a rainy Digernes.

Theresa said...

Aren't they wonderful Sue! Some of my earliest memories involve a beach on Long Island and horse shoe crabs. I didn't see the program everyone is mentioning, but I am thinking I read some where they are either endangered or threatened. Of course what isn't threatened these days....
I'm doing this backwards, but great cemetery pics too.
I know of some interesting ones in VT.

Julie said...

Wow blue blood that is very cool!

Lois Evensen said...

Wow, I just love learning so many cool things from reading your blog. As I always told my students, the more we learn, the more we realize we still don't know.


Annie said...

Interesting! Must be fun to see those guys.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hello...realy enjoyed the photos and piece on horseshow crabs. They are one of my husband's favorites...really! He's shared so much about these fascinating creatures that reading your post "refreshed" my memory - THANKS. I;m also an avid photographer and plan to check back often.

And, you are also invited to stop by our "place"...
We enjoy back-door and drop-in visits friends we haven't yet met.

Sharon said...

Wow, that was interesting. They look so odd, like something that lived in the time of dinosaurs. Thanks for taking us along :)

charlotte said...

Are the horseshoe crabs edible? The blue blood is really awesome, I thought only royals this ;-) I've worked in laboratories for many years, and I'm quite familiar with the horseshoe crab test assays, they're called "limulus assay", and we used it quite a lot some years ago.

Life Looms Large said...

Glad you guys tolerated my foray into slimy undersea creatures!!

Horseshoe crabs aren't edible, just in case anyone is thinking I should have had a net with me!!

I'm blogging from the porch today. Gotta love it!!


Anonymous said...

As Beatrice said, the Limmies were my 'animal of study' for many years. The epicenter of the Horseshoe world is the Delaware Bay. Before the moritorium on harvesting them there were so many that they were collected from the beaches with frontend loaders, chopped in quarters and used as bait in counch traps.
As to age, the fossil record take them back 350 million years. They predate the dinosours, which make them the perfect 'Dinosour for the 21st century'.
Come visit us at