It’s a happy holidays giveaway

Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms by Richard Fortey

Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms by Richard Fortey

Let your heart be light … It’s officially the holiday season! I am seeing twinkling lights throughout the neighborhood, trees trimmed in the window, and I seem to be baking up a storm.

It’s also my favorite time of year to tell those around me how much I appreciate them. If you read this blog, ‘like’ Beach Chair Scientist on Facebook, or ‘follow’ Beach Chair Scientist on Twitter you’re certainly keeping me going and I am very grateful for your support. It’s been a fantastic adventure answering your questions and creating entertaining and educational answers. Also, it’s such a pleasure each time I (virtually) meet new people that continually inspire me.

From now until the end of Wednesday, December 12th I’ll throw your name into another giveaway to win a copy of the New York Times best seller, Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms by Richard Fortey, if you 1) comment on any post here or 2) comment on any post on Facebook or 3) retweet any content on Twitter (@bcsanswers). Each time you comment or retweet will be another chance to win. The book is an incredible gift for the natural history buff on your list or even for yourself!

Update (12/13/2012): Thanks to Random Picker for helping make the raffle so efficient! The winner of Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms is a Twitter follower! Thank you to everyone that participated your support means the world!


Why is the blood of horseshoe crabs blue?

Horseshoe crabs use hemocyanin to distribute oxygen throughout their bodies. Hemocyanin is copper-based and gives the animal its distinctive blue blood. We use an iron-based hemoglobin to move oxygen around.

The blood of this living fossil has the ability to  clot in an instance when it detects unfamiliar germs, therefore building up protective barriers to prevent potential infection. This adaptation has made the blood of the horseshoe crab quite desirable to the biochemical industry.

Image (c)

How have horseshoe crabs been able to remain unchanged for centuries?

In case you have not had the opportunity to get your hands on the new book, Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms, about animals that have remained unchanged through time (Richard Fortey) here is a video from the BBC  on how the horseshoe crab has been able to survive through the ages.

I am particularly fond of this clip because the horseshoe crab expert notes that the horseshoe crab, while an opportunistic and a generalist, is not an aggressive animal.

Please feel free to comment if you’re one of the few that has eaten horseshoe crab eggs.