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.
Laurel Sullivan, who works for the state government to educate members of the public about the invertebrates, told news agency AFP that ‘They’re really easy to love, once you understand them.’
‘They’re not threatening at all. They’re just going about their day, trying to make 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.
‘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,’ according to Glenn Gauvry, founder of the Ecological Research & Development Group, who helped a campaign that encouraged members of the public to do their part by gently picking up upturned crabs that are still alive.