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Horseshoe Crab

on August 4, 2008; last updated August 4, 2008
Aquarium Guide - Mini

The soft body of the horseshoe crab is protected by a hard, outer shell.

Horseshoe Crab

Design

Evolutionists call the horseshoe crab a “living fossil” because fossils of creatures identical to the horseshoe crab have been found and dated to millions of years. During those supposed years of evolution, the horseshoe crab changed very little. This should be no surprise since the horseshoe crab kind was created only a few thousand years ago.

Features

  • The soft body of the horseshoe crab is protected by a hard, outer shell.
  • The front, smooth part of the shell protects the eyes, legs, pincers, mouth, brain, and heart.
  • The middle part of the shell protects the gills and reproductive organs.
  • The last part of the shell is the spine that the crab uses to flip itself over if needed.

Fun Facts

  • The horseshoe crab’s blood is blue because it is copper-based. Its blood contains a protein that is a key ingredient in a powder used to screen drugs and vaccines for contaminants.
  • A horseshoe crab can survive even after losing one-third of its blood.
  • It is also said that this creature can go without eating for up to a year.
  • The horseshoe crab is not a “true crab” (it’s not a crustacean), but is grouped with scorpions, spiders, and extinct trilobites.
  • Each spring during the high tides of the new and full moons, thousands of horseshoe crabs descend on the Delaware Bay shoreline to spawn. At the same time, migrating shorebirds descend on Delaware Bay to feed on their eggs, enabling them to have the energy to complete their northward migration.

CLASS: Merostomata (horseshoe crabs)

ORDER: Xiphosura

FAMILY: Limulidae

GENUS/SPECIES: Limulus polyphemus

Size: Up to 20 in (50 cm)

Diet: Worms and mollusks

Habitat: In the shallow waters of the Atlantic coast, from Nova Scotia to the Yucatan and in the Gulf of Mexico

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