Fish Identification

Horseshoe Crab, juvenile

Posted in fishing resources, odd sea creature, saltwater fish, Uncategorized by fishidentification on October 5, 2009

Horseshoe Crabs, Limulidae

The other day while we were playing on a local island in the Indian River, Florida my son found this small sea creature. It’s Horseshoe crab belonging to the phylum of Arthropods, which consists of animals having articulated body and limbs. This was by far the smallest one we had ever found scavenging the sea grass.

horseshoe crab

The horseshoe belongs to its own class called Merostomata, which means “legs attached to the mouth.”

Though the common name calls them “crabs,” a look at their taxonomy shows that they’re not. In fact, they are most closely related to Trilobites that existed over 500  million years ago!

Horseshoe crabs play an important ecological role in the marine food web. Unfortunatly horseshoe crabs have been taken in substantial numbers to provide bait for commercial fishermen fishing for American eel and conch.

Female Horseshoe crabs are placed in eel pots as bait. The conch fishermen uses horseshoe crabs of either sex to attract conch to their traps.

The Horseshoe crab in an amazing marine creature if you find it as intriguing as we do you should research the web further, you will be surprised how complex they are.


One Response

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  1. Suwannee Refugee said, on October 5, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    I’ve seen a lot of these as I cruise around the coastal areas of Florida. This is a nice find.

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