Horseshoe Crab

Limulus polyphemus

Image by Breese Greg, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, public domain

Physical: Horseshoe crab females grow up to two feet long (60 cm), while the males are noticeably smaller. Females and males have five pairs of appendages, but the first pair on males looks like a boxing glove, while the females look like the other appendages.

Habitat: L. polyphemus range from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico, and can survive up to depths greater then 75 ft.

Feeding: L. polyphemus eat worms and other small invertebrates that reside in the bottom sediment.

Breeding: Horseshoe crabs gather in late spring to breed on beaches all over the east coast. Males climb onto the tails (telson) of females, and internally fertilize the eggs. Males may compete to fertilize females.  Once fertilized, the female releases eggs on the edge of the beach.

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