Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Horseshoe crab survey volunteers needed

For immediate release: March 11, 2009

Photos available at; click on "Newsroom."

Biologists seek public's help for horseshoe crab research

Biologists at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's
(FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute need help from the public in
identifying horseshoe crabs spawning on beaches throughout the state.

The best time to find horseshoe crabs spawning is around high tide, right
before or just after a full or new moon. The full moon on March 12 and
similar conditions on March 13 will create good conditions for viewing the
crabs. The next full moon will occur on April 10.

Observant beachgoers can report the time, date and location of
horseshoe-crab sightings through one of several convenient options. Go to and fill out an online survey;
e-mail findings to; or call the FWC at 866-252-9326.

Biologists also want to know the number of horseshoe crabs seen by
observers and whether the horseshoe crabs are mating. They also want to
know the date, time, location and habitat conditions. If possible, specify
roughly how many are coupled and how many are juveniles (4 inches wide or

Horseshoe crabs benefit humans in several ways. For instance, research on
the compound eyes of horseshoe crabs led to better understanding of the
human vision system, and horseshoe crab blood is useful in the biomedical
industry. In addition, manufacturers use the material of a horseshoe crab's
shell (chitin) to make contact lenses, skin creams and hair sprays.

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