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Luminations on Limulus

May 30, 2014

NC Museum of Natural Sciences Education Blog

by Julia Jacobs

A solitary Horseshoe Crab. A solitary Horseshoe Crab. Photo by Julia Jacobs

This Memorial Day I joined the masses that flocked to the beaches of the Delaware Bay. I, unlike most of the other beachgoers, was not drawn to the warm rays of sunshine, but instead to the faint shine of the almost new moon. For then the horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) emerge from the water and begin their dance. It was high tide in the dwindling light when I first saw the crabs. It was an amazing sight to see. There were tens of thousands of horseshoe crabs coming from the depths of the Delaware Bay to lay their eggs.

Beach invasion by Horseshoe Crabs. Horseshoe Crab Beach Invasion. Photo by Julia Jacobs

A female horseshoe crab reaches sexual maturity at ten years old and lays between 60,000 and 120,000 eggs during breeding season, which occurs annually. Females lay the eggs in batches…

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