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Limulus polyphemus
© Joan Krispyn, 2007 · 1
Limulus polyphemus
Dead female horseshoe crab from NOAA photo library
© Public Domain · 0
Dead female horseshoe crab from NOAA photo library
Horseshoe crabs, also known as King crabs, are found in the ocean around Malaysia and the east coast of North America. They are the only remaining arachnids, except for a few mites, that live in the water. They usually dwell in deep water except when breeding , where move to shallow water and the shores of the beach so the female can lay eggs. They have a hard outer covering, called a carapace, that protects the entire body. The rigid tail on the back end of horseshoe crabs is used for burrowing and helps flip the crab over when it's on its back. They eat worms, dead fish, and young clams. Their blood contains a substance that we use to detect bacterial contamination in medical equipment and its chitin is used to make surgical sutures.


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  • Rachelle Wallace, University of Georgia, Athens

I thank John Pickering for his assistance with the development of this page.

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Updated: 2021-02-25 22:15:19 gmt
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