What are some impacts on the Long Island Sound population of horseshoe crabs?

Previous studies have documented that the low density of horseshoe crab populations in Long Island Sound limits egg predation by shorebirds (Beekey et al. 2013) and contributes to changes in mating behavior such as a decline in polyandry and the presence of single females on the spawning beaches (Mattei et al. 2010).

What is Project Limulus and how does it impact horseshoe crabs?

Determining where juvenile horseshoe crabs grow and develop within LIS. Project Limulus set out to determine: Where juvenile horseshoe crabs spend their time before becoming adults and how many size classes live in the same habitat.

Why horseshoe crabs are dying in Long Island Sound?

Horseshoe crab population numbers have declined, in part because fishermen harvest the animals to use as bait. It’s mating season for Long Island Sound’s horseshoe crabs. Every year, a group of biologists from Sacred Heart University scour Connecticut’s beaches to track and tag these ancient creatures.

Why is the horseshoe crab population crashing?

One of the oldest, most successful arthropods on Earth, horseshoe crabs have existed for over 350 million years. But in recent years their populations, have crashed by 75% from overfishing, resulting in moratoriums on catching them.

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How are we trying to protect horseshoe crabs?

Manage horseshoe crab bait fisheries to ensure that populations are large enough to support the needs of other species like the Red Knot and weakfish that depend on horseshoe crab eggs as an essential food source. Institute policies that reform the horseshoe crab bleeding industry to reduce mortality and other impacts.

What is one thing you can do to help horseshoe crabs?

Horseshoe crabs commonly get overturned by high wave action during spawning and may not be able to right themselves. Often this leads to the death of the animal (you can help them by gently picking them up from both sides of the shell and releasing them back into the water.)

Are horseshoe crabs protected in CT?

Horseshoe crabs are harvested commercially for use as bait in the eel and whelk/conch fisheries. The season in Connecticut runs from May 22 to July 7, although horseshoe crab fishing is banned in Milford, Stratford, West Haven, and Westbrook. The CT DEEP has issued only 12 licenses, with no plans to issue more.

Where are horseshoe crabs on Long Island?

year-round in Long Island Sound, the Atlantic Ocean, and in other areas along the coast. During the spawning season (May and June), thousands can be seen along the shorelines of the bays of Long Island, with peak numbers occurring at night around the times of the new and full moons.

How much is the blood of a horseshoe crab worth?

Horseshoe crab blood is worth an estimated $15,000 a quart, according to the Mid-Atlantic Sea Grant Programs/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Web site (www.ocean.udel.edu). Researchers have also found substances in the crabs that have potential as antibiotics as well as anti-viral and anti-cancer agents.

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How do horseshoe crabs die?

Horseshoe Crabs Can Become Stranded and Die

With their energy drained from spawning, it can be difficult for them to right themselves, particularly if they are somehow impaired (i.e., broken tail). During rough weather, up to 10% of crabs that approach the beach may become stranded.

Why do horseshoe crabs have blue blood?

(Their blue blood comes from the metal copper in their oxygen-transporting proteins, called hemocyanin.) In the 1980s and through the early 1990s, the process seemed sustainable. The pharmaceutical industry claimed that only three percent of the crabs they bled died.

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