The horseshoe crab is primitive species having a rigid exoskeleton. They seem like prehistoric crabs. They are present around the United state along the north american coast. Horseshoe crabs live in different habitats depending upon the phase of development.
Horseshoe crabs are not considered accurate and are closely similar to terrestrial spiders. They can swim upside down and live on land for a long time if their gills are moist.
Horseshoe crabs can reach up to two feet in length. They have a rigid, rounded exoskeleton, a spike-like tail, and five pairs of legs. Their eyes look like bumps on the top. Gills have some folds of membranes that seem like leaves.
The horseshoe body is divided into three parts.
The first part is the prosoma and head. The head saves the eyes of the horseshoe crabs.
The middle part is the abdomen which looks like a triangle with spines. These spines can move and protect the horseshoe crabs. Inside the stomach, muscles and gills are present, which are used for movement and breathing.
The last part is the horseshoe crabs’ tail, called the telson. The seat is long and pointed, not dangerous and poisonous.
The female is larger than the male and can grow up to 18 to 19 inches from head to tail, and males reach up to 14 to 15 inches.
The horseshoe crabs eat worms, razor clams, mollusks, algae, and soft-shell clams. It lives for a long time rotting through sediments and looking for food. Because they do not have jaws, these crabs crush and grind their food with the spiny basis of their legs and then carry it into their mouth.
Predators: Horseshoe Crab
Many types of shorebirds catch and eat horseshoe crab eggs. Many fish, sea turtles, and invertebrates feed on eggs and larvae. Humans hold mature horseshoe crabs to use for medical research.
Reproduction and lifespan:
Mating occurs in the spring and summer, often at night tides when the moon is fully grown. Many mature horseshoe crabs migrate towards land for mating and laying eggs. The male arrives first and waits for the female. When a female comes, she releases a chemical known as pheromones that realize the male it’s time to mate.
Females lay 4,000 eggs on the sand in the presence of high tides. They come back to lay eggs on the beaches throughout the season. After one month, eggs are hatched into larvae. The larvae look the same as mature crabs but without the tail. Young crabs move toward the sand and protected areas where they spend their first two years of life.
These crabs can live more than 20 years.
Horseshoe crab molting:
Horseshoe crabs have a hard exoskeleton that protects them. This shell is made up of chitin. They shed their old exoskeleton before they can grow.
The carb can regrow a soft shell after molting. When the new cover is prepared, they lose the old body. They use seawater to grow their soft shell into rigid surfaces.
When horseshoe crabs grow, they molt almost 17 times until they mature. When they reach maturity, they shed once a year. They lose 36 times in their whole life.
Incredible facts about horseshoe crabs:
Horseshoe crab blood is blue.
Human blood is usually red because of hemoglobin and iron. But horseshoe crabs have different types of oxygen-carrying proteins (hemocyanin). It contains copper instead of iron, which gives its blood blue color rather than red.
They have six pairs of legs, but five are for walking.
Horseshoe crabs use five pairs of legs for walking, and the last pair is called the chelicerae, used to move food into their mouths. They eat algae and other small prey that they root out in the sand on the ocean floor. Horseshoe crabs crush their food with the help of their last legs.
They are not true crabs| Horseshoe Crab
Horseshoe crabs are arthropods and are related to scorpions rather than crustaceans. They are the living members of the Xiphosura order.
What is horseshoe blood used for?
Their blood helps manufacture Limulus amebocyte lysate, which catches pathogens in essential medications like injectable antibiotics.
These substances made by bacteria can lead to fevers and even kill humans. This product comes from a marine organism and is planned to benefit humans.
Are horseshoe crabs edible?
Yes, you can eat horseshoe crabs. Many people eat them in many areas of the world as a food delicacy.
Their meat is white and has the same taste as lobsters. Horseshoe crab is famous in Asian countries. Besides its meat, people also eat eggs, which may have health risks.
There is tiny and rubbery meat to find in horseshoe crabs. They have a salty flavor but are different from fish. Crab meat is safe to eat when the heart is fresh. It has few toxins but is safe to consume.
Horseshoe crabs are arthropods. They are the primary food source for other creatures like turtles, fish, and birds. They molt many times in the early years of their life and after maturity once a year.
Horseshoe crabs are economically very valuable. They also promote human health and provide safety through medicines. Man harvested them for their copper-containing blood in biomedical industries.