Did you know that horseshoe crabs have been around for at least 445 million years? Fossil records from prehistoric horseshoe crabs look very similar to existing horseshoe crabs, with not much change. And, that is why some people refer to them as “living fossils.” They are even older than the oldest dinosaur, which dates to around 240 million years ago. Horseshoe crabs are among the most successful marine arthropods… if success is measured in terms of historical endurance.
There are four species of living horseshoe crabs worldwide, and we are very fortunate that one of those species, Limulus polyphemus, lives in the Atlantic Ocean along the North American coastline, including Florida. The other three species can be found in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean along the coast of Asia.
If you want to learn more about horseshoe crab biology, ecological importance, and how you can become part of our horseshoe crab monitoring program, please join us at our next volunteer training workshop which will take place 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sept. 17 (a Tuesday).
- What’s New with Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch? (blog post)
- FWC: Horseshoe Crabs (web page)