Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mangrove Horseshoe Crab

Mangrove Horseshoe Crab | The Mangrove horseshoe crab is a marine chelicerate arthropod. Despite its name, it is more closely related to spiders and scorpions (all in the subphylum Chelicerata) than to crab. It is the only species in the genus Carcinoscorpius. These Mangrove horseshoe crabs can be found in the entire Asia Pacific region in shallow waters with a soft, sandy soils or extensive mudflats. The Mangrove horseshoe crab is benthopelagic, most of his life close to or at the bottom of a body of their brackish, swampy water habitats such as mangroves. 

Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Arthropoda
Class:     Merostomata
Order:     Xiphosura
Family:     Limulidae
Genus:     Carcinoscorpius, Pocock, 1902
Species:     C. rotundicauda

The basic body plan of a Mangrove horseshoe crab has three parts: the prosoma, the opisthosoma and telson. The prosoma is the dome-shaped part at the front. The three-spined marginally middle-called opisthosoma, and the rear unit that looks like a peak, the telson, which is commonly described as the 'tail'. Contrary to popular belief, it is used to telson itself back upright when it is tilted. The Mangrove horseshoe crab grows to 40 inches long (including tail), and his body is protected by a hard, dark brown shell. 

Juveniles grow about 33% larger each time they molt, and it takes almost 2 cm approximately five moults to reach young adult size. Their large eggs, which hatch into miniature versions of adults, are recorded in the upper parts of the mangroves. Males (usually much smaller than females), cling to and follow their potential partners around for long periods before egg laying. Not surprisingly, some people identify this crab with marital fidelity.

Mangrove horseshoe crabs are scavengers and can be found among the mangroves feed on algae, invertebrates and dead organisms. They are specially adapted to hypoxic water, hold up to 200 book gills used for breathing. The telson or tail is used to right itself when it is tilted and not as a weapon as some believe.

The eggs of these crabs are eaten in some areas, local people cutting open the body and eating the eggs unlaid immediately after cooking. There are some reports, but the Mangrove horseshoe crab are poisonous. The blood of the crab is important in the biomedical world as a purified version can help detect benefit rial toxins, important for disease detection and ensure the cleanliness of the equipment.


  1. Are they ever found on the east coast of the USA

  2. as millions of these are blood let each year i would be interested in any links to their numbers and if there is an effect/decline since the practice began in the 70s. I did read that the blood being taken effects the females reproduction rate???