A date with horseshoe crabs -Fl. biologists need your help

WANTED: People helping people to count and make observations about horseshoe crab life Contact: Carli Segelson (727) 896-8626

Biologists at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Fish andhorseshoecrab1 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 next full moon will occur on April 10, 2009.

Beachgoers can report the time, date and location of horseshoe crab sightings through one of several convenient options.

Go to http://research.MyFWC.com/horseshoe_crab and fill out an online survey; e-mail findings to horseshoe@MyFWC.com; 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 smaller).

Horseshoe crabs ( Limulus p. family Limudidae)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. An extract of the horseshoe crab’s blood is used by the pharmaceutical and medical device industries to ensure that their products, e.g., intravenous drugs, vaccines, and medical devices, are free of bacterial contamination. No other test works as easily or reliably for this purpose.

In addition, manufacturers use the material of a horseshoe crab’s shell (chitin) to make contact lenses, skin creams and hair sprays.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of FWC Biologists seek public’s help for horseshoe crab research

Excerpts courtesy of Horseshoecrab.org and medical uses.

Image horseshoecrab courtesy of clacc.uchc.edu

Image

http://research.myfwc.com/news/view_article.asp?id=31991

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