Species Highlight: the Atlantic Horseshoe Crab

Another fine post by Katerina of our Future Frogmen student organization. Please consider joining us and contributing your talent, whether it be writing, art, or most anything else. We can discuss possibilities.

Future Frogmen

atlantic_horseshoe_crabEach year, by the light of full moons between May and June, beaches along the U.S. eastern seaboard bear witness to masses of domed, ancient arthropods emerging from the waves. These groups of Limnus Polyphemus coordinate their arduous journey from sea to land. Aggregating under cover of darkness, they plod ashore, filling the beach and shuffling about in search of partners, depositing the next generation of pearly round eggs safely under the sand. Over the course of a breeding season, a female can lay over 80,000 eggs. Polyphemus, more commonly known as the Atlantic horseshoe crab, is one of four species of these living fossils originating 350 million years ago. All four species, L. Polyphemus, C. rotundicauda, T. tridentatus and T. gigas are morphologically similar and use this coordinated egg laying technique in an attempt to produce more eggs than predators can possibly consume at once, thus ensuring…

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