The Beacon

Even Horseshoe Crabs Get the Blues

I'm a little tardy on this one, apologies, I just noticed it: the New York Times published a fascinating piece this week about the suspected crash of horseshoe crab populations as a result of being harvested for use as fishing bait.

The creature has barely changed in 445 million years. They've been around since, well, seemingly forever. And now they might be in danger? I know what you're thinking -- they're like cockroaches. They're supposed to be invincible, right? Apparently not, and one group is working to protect what is a vital food source for hundreds of species of migratory birds, predatory fish, reptiles, and amphibians.

Who isn't taken by the horseshoe crab's distinctive, prehistoric shell -- or, as the author describes it, "Wilma Flintstoneā€™s idea of a Roomba vacuum cleaner"? As a kid I recall staring at a faded photograph of one that hung in the family beach house, thinking, "What on earth IS that thing?"

So even though I'm a few days late picking this up, I think you'll agree the subject's pretty timeless.

[Photo via scienceblogs.com]


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