Researchers recently discovered the importance of horseshoe crabs, or Limulidae, for the security of vaccines. The “living fossils” are classified as vulnerable in America and endangered in Asia due to habitat loss and overharvesting for food.
Horseshoe crabs have been scavenging the planet’s oceans for 450 million years, while dinosaurs appeared, lived to the age of extinction, and were followed by the transition from early fish to the land animals that would eventually give rise to humans.
These strange creatures have vivid blue blood that, in the 1970s, took the role of rabbit testing to be crucial for determining the safety of biomedical items because it clots in the presence of toxic bacteria called endotoxins.
They’re incredibly simple to adore, if you understand them, according to Laurel Sullivan, a state government employee who tries to inform the public about invertebrates.
“They pose no danger at all. They simply go about their business of producing more horseshoe crabs.”
Taylor Beck, an environmental scientist working on the survey project, notes that enlisting citizen scientists increases government data-gathering efforts while simultaneously involving the public.
The term “crab” is often used incorrectly for the four subspecies of creatures that are closely related to spiders and scorpions.
The ten eyes of Atlantic horseshoe crabs, which consume food by crushing it, are notably smaller in men than in females.
According to Glenn Gauvry, founder of the Ecological Research & Development Group, “if we can’t get people to care and to connect to these animals, then they’re less likely to want legislation to protect them.” Gauvry assisted a campaign that urged members of the public to do their part by gently picking up upturned crabs that are still alive.