Watch Out for Tagged Horseshoe Crabs

You may know from reading my post in November 2018 that partners in the Indian River Lagoon are expanding the Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch citizen science program into Brevard and Indian River counties. The program takes advantage of the beach nesting behavior of horseshoe crabs to collect valuable information. Volunteers walk a known section of beach at predetermined times and count the number of horseshoe crab mating groups observed. A small subset of those crabs counted are collected, tagged with a small numbered disc, and released back into the wild, and information about those crab is documented.

Interested volunteers attended trainings in January. They have already started monitoring and surveying at sites in the Indian River Lagoon. The two sites in Brevard County are Kelly Park East in Merritt Island and Parrish Park in Titusville. There are two sites in Indian River County in Sebastian. One of the most important parts of the program is the reporting of tagged horseshoe crabs and reappearances on beaches. This is because these reports help track crab movements. It also helps get an idea of the size of the population.

Report sightings of tagged horseshoe crabs

Anyone can report sightings of tagged horseshoe crabs. If you see a tagged crab (like the one in the photo below):

Tagged horseshoe crab. Photo credit: Holly Abeels
  1. Snap a picture of the tag or record the tag # (number is on the bottom of the tag)
  2. Note the date, location, and general condition of the crab (alive or dead)
  3. Report data using the online form at or by calling 1-888-546-8587 (1-888-LIMULUS)

It’s important to NOT remove the tag. When recording the tag number, try to limit disturbing the horseshoe crab. Try not to pick the crab up. If you must pick the crab up for some reason, DO NOT pick it up by the tail. Sighting data goes into the national database maintained by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. It contributes to knowledge about horseshoe crab movements and population numbers.

For more information about the Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch program and about horseshoe crabs please visit


Posted: February 15, 2019

Category: Coasts & Marine, Conservation, Natural Resources, Wildlife
Tags: Environment, Florida Sea Grant, Horseshoe Crabs, Indian River Lagoon


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Anita C.
January 6, 2022

As a concerned grandparent to a little one, I find it hard to believe UF would support a "STEM" club that doesn't support science. I saw photos of my grandson at one of these 'classes' with a bunch of unmasked kids in close quarters and an unmasked teacher. Do not send your kid to this, especially during the Omicron spike.


November 17, 2021

Hi Dianna, I have a post scheduled to go out on 11/24. If you would like to receive our class list sooner, we have a newsletter that goes out on the 3rd Monday of every month! You can subscribe to it here:

November 16, 2021

When will they post December classes?

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Dear Dr. Wells, I admire your work to find the happy environmentally friendly balance of natural ecosystems within golf courses. We have found many supporters who wish to reinvent the abandoned , privately -owned West End golf course on Newberry Road in Alachua County, and are reaching out to our County government for their support as well. The golf course was the core of our West End Village neighborhood ; we have a dream to revitalize it. Looking forward to contacting you at a later time! Thank you.

Bonnie C. Wells, DPM

October 11, 2021

Hi Laura, Thanks for your comment! I missed it earlier, I apologize. Please feel free to quote me and reach out if you have any questions. Several of our golf courses have become certified with Audubon International for their conservation efforts! I also have an article you may be interested in here, page 16:

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October 10, 2021

Dear Sally, The pdf form ( ) does not open. I have a 10' dia. patch of soil next to our office (Royale Towers condo) in Cocoa Beach. Workers dumped many tile saw pan liquid contents and killed a beautiful small palm there. Afraid to do anything until soil is tested. I suspect I should take 3 surface samples in the circular area. How much do I need to take and when/where do I take it? Dan PS Retired Ag. Ext agent (M.E.)

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Pls specify, as well, Bonnie, which of the plants in your table r native to Florida.
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I am a huge fan of Greenspaces/ Golf Courses. I love the statement you make underlining the importance of golfcourse superintendents as “stewards of the land. “May I please quote you ? I’m writing our commissioners to help save an abandoned for sale golf course! I love seeing deer, red tailed hawks, Sandhill Cranes on this former course. I’ve also seen a pair of pileated woodpeckers, a flock of egrets, and bluebirds.

Wayne Shepherd
August 26, 2021

I planted 8 Better John bushes along the foundation of my garage. Four on the north end of the hedge look healthy and four on the south end look like they are dying, in fact two of them have. I suspect the four on the south end don't get enough sun because the second story of my house blocks some sunlight; however, I'm not sure. Before I select another foundation plant I want to have the soil tested. Please tell me how to go about this.


August 23, 2021

Hello Michael, It's possible that the class in Cocoa is already full. Please contact the instructor, Gus Koerner, at (321) 633-1702 ext. 52320 or email him at for further information.

Michael E Focht
August 21, 2021

Hello! the Hunter Safety Class is NOT listed on the FWC class list.. My son needs the class, it has been canceled twice..he is signed up for the 3 hour virutal on AUG 24th, but if this cancels, we would like to do the 28th class in Cocoa.. Please advise! Thank YOU! Mike

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Hello - the link to your soil testing form isn't working today. Could someone please email it to me? Thank you

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Hi Chris, Yes, these are "Florida-Friendly" plants, meaning they are low impact, environmentally friendly, use less water and reduce pollutant loading to Florida waters. Learn more here: Thanks! Bonnie

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February 24, 2021

How do I schedule a soil sample for my yard? I understand that there is a charge to have the Master Gardeners come to my home. Thanks.

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Bonnie C. Wells, DPM

November 9, 2020

Hi Mia, the Duval County Extension office should be able to help you with that question. Dr. Kerr is the commercial horticulture agent there, his email is CKERR@COJ.NET. Thanks for reading!

Bonnie C. Wells, DPM

November 9, 2020

Awesome Frank, will do! Thanks so much for the suggestion. :)

Frank Galdo
November 9, 2020

Please, please, please add the FL native climbing aster! (Symphyotrichum carolinianum) The incredible explosion of fragrant purple flowers arrives in November & December, at a point when many other FL wildflowers are fading. To me, the flowers smell like sweet, warm sugar cookies! It's always loaded with pollinators too... Perfect for wetter soils - along the edges of ponds, swales, etc. Thanks, Frank Galdo - Program Coordinator, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, UF/IFAS Extension Pasco County Pics & info:

Maria Fuller
November 5, 2020

Your idea is great! Deer hunting is a good start, and you will enjoy doing such type of hunting. But, make sure to be aware of all the pros and cons of such hunting activities. For a change, you can start with Dove Hunting in Texas. It is amazing and will surely give you an exceptional hunting experience. If you are stuck somewhere and can’t find the best ways for Dove hunting, you can take assistance from the top hunting guides available over the web.

Raymond E Kreul
October 22, 2020

Gentlemen; I am a new Hydroponics novice. I have cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers growing but my problem is with these white flys. I have tried Neem oil, mixture of liquid soap, h2o,cooking oil, Bassail plants (2) to no success. They are just destroying my plants. I trim off all the badly effected plant leaves as I can. My guestion is I have them in 5 gallon containers setting right next to each other is this a mistake? Do you have any suggestions? I planted my plants about 80 days ago and have had slow results (3) cucs thats it. I am trying to pollinate my plants by hand with little success. Just venting I guess thist is my first try. I spoke to a master gardner she stated I could go on your site to find vegies suited for the central Fl. area "Melbourne" I can't seem to locate it. Are their stores that sell FL. varities?

Robin Pearsall
September 24, 2020

I live in SE Florida - zone 10B. We want to attract squirrels in our backyard landscape. We don't have enough depth for a live oak. So, based on your article, we plan to plant 3 cabbage palms. What shrubs might also attract squirrels? Thank you. Robin Pearsall

Robin Davidson Pearsall
August 28, 2020

Sally -I I intend to plant landscape that is a natural food source for squirrels. Which of these plants will thrive in Zone 10B? I live in zip code 33026. Thank you very much.

Holly Meyet
July 21, 2020

Please encourage your YHEC coaches and youth to follow Beasts, Birds, and Bones on Instagram and Facebook. It is specifically designed to teach wildlife identification skills. #beastsbirdsandbones #aryhec #yhec

June 28, 2020

These plants are very hard to find for purchase. Do you know anywhere in the Jax area? Thank you

suba suba
June 11, 2020

It as hard to find experienced people in this particular topic, however, you sound like you know what you are talking about! Thanks

Gus Koerner

May 13, 2020

Thanks and you're welcome! - gus

Gus Koerner

May 13, 2020

Thanks for your comments! There are so many math and physics principles practiced and demonstrated in archery! If an instructor can remember to point them out while the kids are on the range, he or she can really reinforce what is taught in the classroom. All the instructor has to do, is find the appropriate teachable moment and take advantage of it. gus

Graham Mitchell
May 8, 2020

This is a great use of math an angles to help improve your archery shooting range. When teaching a beginner having them line up a 90 degree angle will be helpful for them to take the same stance each time. Thank you

Diesel Wold
May 6, 2020

Informative, Thanks for this.

Gus Koerner

April 30, 2020

Thanks for your comments! I feel the same way. - gus

April 30, 2020

fishing is a awesome hobbit. I want fishing again and again.

Gus Koerner

March 26, 2020

Hey Steven! Thanks for your comment. I suggest you get into hunting with a multi-tiered approach, making sure you are comfortable in the woods, you know the laws and regulations of what you plan on hunting, and starting small - with small game that is. Hunting, which includes dispatching small game takes the same skills as hunting large game but with less input and intensity. If you can successfully bag your first raccoon (for example) and process it all the way to the table, you'll be well on your way to hunting larger game as you gain experience. If you haven't taken it, or done it lately, enroll in your local Hunter Safety class by your state game division. They can help. Go out into the woods and scout around. Go to the range and perfect your skills. All these things will not only prepare you for hunting, but will help you decide IF and how you want to go ahead. I hope that helps! - gus

Steven Rinella
March 25, 2020

Great share. I am new in hunting. Should I start with deer hunting? What your recommandation?

Kelly Moutsatsos
March 7, 2020

Thank you for the great blog, Gus. See you at the fair! Kelly Phelan Moutsatsos 4H Horse & Farm LIFE Club

Gus Koerner

July 8, 2019

I'm glad you enjoyed the article! gus

Wes Morrison
June 29, 2019

This class looked to be a lot of fun! I wish I could have made it. What is the recommended “design tool” for a FFL?

Gus Koerner

June 19, 2019

Great to hear Joe! Send me a picture of it. I'd love to see it! gus

barbara newman
June 12, 2019

can I bring a sample of my soil to center? It is for planting a hibiscus in place of one that is not doing very well.

Pamela Houmere
May 17, 2019

HI! Can you tell me if either of these species has been found in the Tallahassee area, or anywhere in Wakulla, Leon and Gadsden Counties?

Joe Pavlik
May 12, 2019

Haha I did it I made awing bone call . Thanks for the information .

Don Downs
April 3, 2019

Linda, This is Don Downs, the Conservation/Public Relations Officer for the Cocoa Utilities Dept. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help promote Florida-Friendly Landscaping. I put stuff out on our social media now and then, I'm doing that now for Water Conservation Month. But if you ever need any help or resources promoting a class I'll help however I can.

Jimmy britton
March 10, 2019

Its an amazing system.i am a low income disabled fl resident( born and raised fl cracker)i see a future for me in this aspect of ag,small hobby farm.selling fl certified organic products.basic small scale startup.i would like to grow fresh tomatoes sugar baby seedless melons and jumbo peanuts for boiling.short term goals.getting a wealth of information.any training online would be very helpful.thank yall, jimmy britton

Saptarshi Bhattacharya
March 6, 2019

Thank you for your nice blog post. Keep it up.

Bonnie C. Wells, DPM

March 5, 2019

Thank you very much, Gary! I have been impressed with the BMP efforts of the Brevard turf professionals I've visited and will most definitely be helping with the implementation of new programs and certifications in environmental stewardship. Stay tuned!

March 5, 2019

Good Morning, I am interested in using bio solids. I have imported in truck loads of spent mushroom compost to make my home vege garden grow. It is quite expensive-green spent compost delivered to my yard has run me $25/yd. I usually just incorporated it two-three weeks ahead of transplanting and added it as a topping during the season. Since I am a cheep sob and want to find free soil enhancements -silk sand does not support much except cow peas and arugula and mustard. I need to know what you know about the subject. At a cost of just gas and labor a local stable has free manure/shaving for the taking. A yard or so cost me about $4 in gas and labor at no cost-since I go get it with my pickup and my lawn tractor trailer. My question is what would be the most efficient way to break down that material so I can apply it.

Basudeb Das
March 5, 2019

Thank you for your post. Keep it up.

Gary Chaney
March 4, 2019

This is a great article Bonnie. Thank you very much for taking the time to visit the courses and talk to the superintendents. I am sure that you were pleased with the knowledge and effort they use daily to be stewards of the environment. Many are BMP Certified but we need more to get this certification and implement new programs to make the best agronomic and environmental decisions on a daily basis.

February 21, 2019

How can I keep squirrels out of my mango? there are oaks on the property behind mine, the limbs overhang my back yard. they can actually jump from the closest oak limb to the mango. it is prohibitive cost wise to have the oak limbs trimmed. is there any other way to prevent?Margaret Azar321-704-3967, Melbourne

Holly Abeels

February 18, 2019

The counties currently involved in the FL Horseshoe Crab Watch Program are Franklin, Taylor, Dixie, Levy, Hernando, Pinellas, Manatee, Martin, Indian River, Brevard, Volusia, and Nassau. There are some counties that will be incorporated in the future including those in Southwest Florida (and Collier county). Here on the East Coast of Florida we see horseshoe crabs nesting between December-May depending on where you are. On the Gulf Coast of Florida they see them nesting in the spring and fall (Feb-May and Aug-Oct). It's unknown what the nesting time is in southwest Florida. If you ever do see horseshoe crabs please report them to the FWC Wildlife Hotline for horseshoe crabs at this link: (click on Report Your Nesting Horseshoe Crab Sighting). You can also download the free FWC Reporter App and report sightings through your mobile device (

Kenneth S. Ridlon
February 17, 2019

Is any yagging being done in Collier County? When is the best timr of yr to watch for mating crabs? Several yrs ago I was doing daily searches at Tigertail beach/lagoon. Found a good number that I sexed, measured etc. Never knrw where to send tbe data. Any contact person for this area?

January 9, 2019

Seems like People have forgotten all these after PUBG Mobile is introduced :)

Holly Abeels

December 3, 2018

Thanks Michael. I've put you down on my list and will be in touch once training dates are set.

Holly Abeels

December 3, 2018

Thanks Ivan. I've put you down on my list and will be in touch once training dates are set.

Linda Seals

November 29, 2018

Hi Erin, unfortunately I do not have another one planned. I will keep your email address and let you know if we have another one.

Linda Seals

November 29, 2018

Hi Cynthia, this class was in August. I don't have another one planned.

Ivan green
November 26, 2018

I'm in for a mid Brevard county location.

Cynthia Adkins
November 14, 2018

Would you please provide me with more information, like date and cost?

Michael Lee
November 13, 2018

I'm interested and can work for Kirk in Indian River County or Holly in mid to south Brevard.

maghfirah pustaka
November 5, 2018

thank you for the info, very interesting

Erin Carrigan
October 17, 2018

Is this going to be offered anytime soon? I was registered for a previous course but it was cancelled. Thank you. Erin

Gus Koerner

October 11, 2018

Thank you Mary. Feel free to call me anytime to discuss youth shooting sports in our region. Gus 321-633-1702, Ext. 52320

October 10, 2018

I wouldn't reccommend freezing. AVMA guidelines for reptiles and amphibians has this to say about it: S7.3.7 Unacceptable Methods Hypothermia—Hypothermia is an inappropriate method of restraint or euthanasia for amphibians and reptiles unless animals are sufficiently small (< 4 g) to permit immediate and irreversible death if placed in liquid N2 (rapid freezing). Hypothermia reduces amphibians’ tolerance for noxious stimuli and there is no evidence that it is clinically efficacious for euthanasia. In addition, it is believed that freezing can result in the formation of ice crystals in tissues that may cause pain. Consequently, because amphibians and reptiles lack behavioral or physiologic means of demonstrating pain or distress while hypothermic, generalized prohibitions on hypothermia for restraint or euthanasia are appropriate. Localized cooling in frogs may reduce nociception, but this localized effect is not appropriately applied to the whole body as a part of euthanasia procedures. Freezing of deeply anesthetized animals may be justified under circumstances where human safety could be compromised.

Mary Watkins
September 27, 2018

Gus, We shoot lever action smallbore and pistol cartridge rifle metallic silhouette at Seminole County Gun and archery and Chuluota Sportsmans Club on second Saturday and second Sunday of each month. Also smallbore and Hunters Pistol at Chuluota SC. Mary Watkins

Bradley T.
June 14, 2018

We have just posted an article about the Tegu Lizard being spotted in Brevard County.

Randy Moore
May 22, 2018

Thanks Mr. Gus!

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