Atlantic horseshoe crab

Limulus polyphemus

Atlantic horseshoe crab

Limulus polyphemus
Limulus polyphemus

Characteristics and Behavior:

The Atlantic Horseshoe Crab is a marine arthropod with a distinctive horseshoe-shaped carapace (shell). The carapace is hard, and they have long, pointed tails. Their body is primarily brown or greenish-gray, and they have multiple pairs of legs used for walking and swimming. These ancient creatures have been around for over 450 million years, making them a "living fossil."



Fun Facts:

  1. Blue Blood and Medical Uses: The horseshoe crab's blood contains a blue copper-based substance called Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL). This unique substance is used to test for bacterial contamination in medical equipment, vaccines, and other products.
  2. Vision in Multiple Directions: Horseshoe crabs have compound eyes that can see in almost all directions simultaneously, helping them detect potential threats and locate mates during spawning.
  3. Ancient Survivors: These "living fossils" have survived mass extinctions, ice ages, and major geological events, making them one of the most enduring species on Earth.

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