Limulus Polyphemus: The Horseshoe Crab

This topic submitted by Brandi Butterbaugh ( bbutterbaugh@miamisburg.k12.oh.us) at 11:50 PM on 4/14/04.

This stingray seems to be flying at Molasses Reef, Key Largo, Florida.

Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University



Distributed along the Atlantic coastline, Limulus polyphemus is one of four species of horseshoe crabs. Althought the name implies a relation to "crab", Limulus polyphemus is not a "true crab" like invertebrates found in the Subphylum Crustacea, but rather is categorized in the Subphylum Chelicerata. Fossil remains of horseshoe crabs date back 500 million years, and while other species related to horseshoe crabs are now extinct, the species is not in any immediate danger of extinction (Walls 41). Several uses, however, exist for horseshoe crabs and have led to some concern as to whether the distribution and number of horseshoe crabs might decline. In addition to general background informtion about Limulus Polyphemus, I will discuss ecological impacts horseshoe crabs have on other species along the Atlantic coast as well as commercial fishery and biomedical uses of Limulus polyphemus.

Outline:

Introduction

General Information

History
Related Species
Taxonomy
Distribution
Habitat
Reproduction
Growth
Diet
Predators

Ecological Impacts

shorebirds
environmentalists

Uses - Commercial, Biomedical, Other

Commerical
Impact
Alternatives
Biomedical
Impact
Alternatives
Other Uses
Impact
Alternatives


Resources (Still searching...)

Botton, Mark L. "Horseshoe Crabs" Biologist. Vol. 49 No. 5 (2002) 193-198


Carmichael, Ruth H. et al. "Position of Horseshoe Crabs in Estuarine Food webs" N and C Stable Isotopic Study of Foraging Ranges and Diet Composition". Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 299 (2004): 231-253.


Kurz, W., M.J. James-Pirri. "The Impact of Biomedical Bleeding on Horseshoe Crab, Limulus polyphemus, Movement Patterns on Cape Cod, Massachusetts". Marine and Freshwater Behavior and Physiology. Vol. 35 No. 4. (2002) 261-268.


Pechenik, Jan A. Biology of the Invertebrate Fourth Edition. New York: McGraw Hill, 2000.


Walls, Elizabeth A., Jim Berkson, Stephen A. Smith. "The Horseshoe Crab, Limulus polyphemus: 200 Million Years of Existance, 100 Years of Study". Reviews in Fisheries Science. Vol. 10 No. 1. (2002) 39-73.


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