Atlantic horseshoe crab infographic

Whether we know it or not, the Atlantic horseshoe crab has made a significant impact on many of our lives. The significance of this living fossil can be found in its capacity to resist change for millions of years, its special copper-based blood is crucial to the medical field, and its ability to provide food for millions of migratory birds year after year.

Design on a dime … Underwater edition

Here is a little post inspired by all the HGTV I’ve been watching since becoming a homeowner.

Several species of crabs are considered ‘decorator crabs‘ because they conceal themselves with sponges, bryozoans, anemones, and other vegetation. The crabs will hold a piece of decoration against it shell until it begins to grow there. They are equipped with velcro-like bristles to keep their camouflage attached. Surprisingly enough, the decorations remain with the crab even when it sheds its exoskeleton. When the old shell splits, the vulnerable crustacean crawls out. The crab hides from predators while a new shell forms.

Image (c) thosenorthernskies.blogspot.com.

Why do I always see so many dead crabs along the shoreline?

Rest assure those crab skeletons are not all dead crabs. They are the molts from the animals. Crabs, lobsters, horseshoe crabs, and many other crustaceans go through a molting phase and the old shell is basically washed up in the wrack line.

The wrack line is the deposits from the ocean after the tide has gone back out to sea. It’s often defined by seaweed that entangles lots of fun ocean treasures such as sea beans, old leathery sea turtle eggs, and sometimes marine debris. It’s my favorite spot to explore!

Do you have another great question? Email info@beachchairscientist.com and let me know what you always ponder while digging your toes in the sand!