Horseshoe Crab

Horseshoe crabs are older than the dinosaurs and outlived them!
Horseshoe Crab Scientific Classification
Horseshoe Crab Physical Characteristics
Brown, Grey, Tan, Green
2.3 to 4.5 million just on the Atlantic coast
Over 30 years
As much as 9 pounds in the tri-spine horseshoe crab; males of all species smaller
Horseshoe Crab Distribition

Characterized by its huge safety covering, the horseshoe crab is a fantastic instance of a living fossil.

Among the earliest animals in the world, horseshoe crabs have actually been strolling the seas for thousands of countless years. Undoubtedly, they have actually needed to adjust to continents developing and changing and have actually endured Ice Ages and whatever it was that made the dinosaurs therefore lots of various other species go extinct. When humans arrived they uncovered that horseshoe crabs might be made use of as food and as lure to capture various other type of food, and currently they are made use of for clinical research study.

5 Unbelievable Horseshoe Crab Realities!

Some interesting truths regarding the horseshoe crab consist of:

  • These animal are arthropods, which implies it relates to spiders.
  • They’re not crabs. They’re not also shellfishes.
  • They advanced regarding 255 million years back, and some consider them living fossils.
  • The blood of Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda consists of tetrodotoxin, a fatal poisonous substance that assaults the nerve system.
  • Mentioning blood, the blood of these animals is sapphire blue when revealed to oxygen.

Horseshoe Crab Classification and Scientific name

These animals come from the Limulidae family along with the suborder Xiphosurida and the order Xiphosura. There are 4 category: Carcinoscorpius; Limulus; Mesolimulus, which is extinct, and Tachypleus There are 4 living species in these category. They are:

  • Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda
  • Limulus polyphemus
  • Tachypleus gigas
  • Tachypleus tridentatus

The name Lumulidae is contemporary Latin for “a little askance,” since it made use of to be believed the animal had just one eye. Xiphosurida is from the Greek words for sword, “xiphos” and the Greek word for tail, “oura.” Carcinoscorpius implies “crab scorpion,” with Carcino originating from the Greek word “karkinos,” a crab, and “scorpius” from the Latin word “scorpius,” which obtained from the Greek word “skorpios.” Rotundicauda implies “rounded tail” These names were motivated by the appearance of the animal. The “meso” in mesolimulus is Greek for “center.” Tachypleus originates from the Greek words “tachys,” which implies “quick” and “pleustikos,” which implies “cruising” or “swimming.”

Horseshoe Crab Species

The 4 horseshoe crab are Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda, which is the mangrove horseshoe crab. This crab is located in southerly Asia. Limulus polyphemus is the Atlantic horseshoe crab and it lives along the eastern coastline of the USA and Mexico. Tachypleus gigas is the Indo- Pacific horseshoe crab, and it is likewise located in southerly and southeastern Asia. Tachypleus tridentatus is the tri- spinal column horseshoe crab, and it resides in southeast Asia and East Asia.

Horseshoe Crab Appearance

The animal’s appearance is distinct. The pulps of its body are totally covered with a difficult, horseshoe- designed shell. The body has 3 components to it. The prosoma can be taken the head, after that there’s a center component called the opisthosoma and the tail, or telson. The tail, which is lengthy and rigid, looks enormous, however it exists to work as a tail when the horseshoe crab swims and to assist transform it upright if it’s handed over.

The females of all species are bigger than the males. The male mangrove horseshoe crab has to do with 12 inches long, however the female of the tri- spinal column horseshoe crab can be 31.25 inches long and evaluate as long as 9 extra pounds.

The animal has lots of eyes. It has eyes on and also under its head, and there are also eyes under its tail. This might be why they are in some cases located swimming upside-down.

If the animal is turned upside-down, an individual will certainly have the ability to see its publication gills, which it makes use of to take a breath undersea. These gills obtain their name since they resemble the web pages of a publication.

Though they do not have teeth, they can still eat shellfish whose coverings aren’t also thick. This is since they have a mouth that’s full of bristles located in the center of their 5 sets of legs. They utilize their legs to relocate their food to their mouth, after that eat it by strolling.

Since their shell is inflexible, the animal requires to molt to expand. They molt often throughout their initial year and can molt as lots of as 18 times prior to they are of reproductive age, which has to do with 9. Because females are larger, they molt much more times than males. When the male molts for the last time, he creates claspers that resemble boxing handwear covers. This aids him hang on to the female throughout the generating period.

A pair of Atlantic horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) mate. These crabs are marine chelicerate arthropods commonly found from the Gulf of Mexico up to Canada. They are valuable in medical research.
A set of Atlantic horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) friend. These crabs are aquatic chelicerate arthropods frequently located from the Gulf of Mexico approximately Canada. They are beneficial in clinical research study.

Horseshoe Crab Distribution, Population, and Environment

All species like superficial water with sloppy or sandy bases. There go to the very least countless these animals in the seas of the globe, though in some areas their numbers are decreasing. The mangrove and tri- spinal column horseshoe crabs can be located in salt or briny water around southeast Asia and north right into China and Hong Kong. The Atlantic horseshoe crab is located along The United States and Canada’s Atlantic shoreline and in the Gulf of Mexico. The Indo- Pacific horseshoe crab is located on the shores of the South China Sea to the Bay of Bengal.

Horseshoe Crab Predators and Victim

These animals eat little fish, bivalves, and various other invertebrates. They likewise eat algae. Predators on young and grown-up horseshoe crabs consist of sea turtles, however the best payment they make to the food cycle is their eggs. Horseshoe crabs pertain to the coastline to lay eggs at the exact same time lots of shorebirds are moving. Horseshoe crab eggs are their primary resource of healthy protein. Fish such as eels, sets down, and flounders likewise eat the eggs and the recently hatched out animals. “Actual” crabs likewise enjoy the bounty of eggs.

These animals likewise has its share of symbionts, because at one factor it will certainly no more molt. Clams scuds, aquatic worms, algae, barnacles, oysters, starfish, and various other animals reside on and in the horseshoe crab’s covering.

For a full evaluation of what horseshoe crabs eat, make certain to review ‘‘ What Do Horseshoe Crabs Eat? The Key Foods in their Diet.‘ ‘

Horseshoe Crab Reproduction and Life-span

These animals can live as long as twenty years, and some biologists think the animal can live as long as thirty years. Its spawning is among one of the most fantastic eyeglasses in nature. They generate in the springtime at high trend throughout the brand-new or moon. Males reach the coastline initially and await the females. When a female gets here, a male connects himself to the rear of her covering with his claspers. There might be six males sticking or trying to hold on to her.

The female lugs in between 60,000 to 120,000 eggs that she lays regarding 4000 each time throughout high trend. As she lays the eggs, the male feeds them. They hatch out after regarding 2 weeks if the birds and various other animals have not made a pig of on them. In position where farming of the horseshoe crab happens, eggs can be synthetically inseminated.

Horseshoe Crab in Angling and Food Preparation

These animals do not have much meat on them, however the meat is taken into consideration a special by some that agree to pay an excellent cost for it. In Thailand, they belong to a recipe called yam khai maeng da. Individuals in Asia likewise eat the eggs. Nevertheless, it is essential to locate an edible horseshoe crab, for consuming one that has tetrodotoxin can be deadly. Horseshoe crabs are likewise made use of as lure for eels, conch, and whelks.

Horseshoe Crab Population

There are countless Atlantic species, also as its condition is near threatened. Fifty percent a million are made use of each year for research study and a minimum of a million are made use of for lure. Yet the tri- spinal column species is endangered, and there’s not nearly enough information on the various other 2 species.


  1. National Geographic, Available here:
  2. Promega Connections, Available here:
  3. Animal Diversity Web, Available here:
  4. The Horseshoe Crab, Available here:
  5. Wikipedia, Available here:
  6. EPA, Available here:

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