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Friday, May 23, 2014

Horseshoe crabs are disappearing and scientists don't know why!

The horseshoe crab is actually not related to the crab. It related to the spider. It is the oldest unchanged species on Earth. It is older than the continents! For most of the crabs history, it was thought to be junk from the sea. People sometimes thought that they were bounties. Then in 1956 a scientist discovered an amazing property in the crabs blood. Every spring horseshoe crabs make their way from Florida to New Jersey. Thousands come every spring and lay millions of eggs. In the 1990s their numbers kept falling. Scientists didn't know why. As more things are connected to another, the fewer the crabs the fewer the eggs.
The scientists got together to try to understand the habits of the crab and calculate the numbers. These scientists put together a little spring survey asking people how many times they saw the horseshoe crab. People saw it about 2,800. That is enough to be able to locate the crabs. But not enough to tell the scientists hoe many there are.
“It’s a really cool creature,” said Tiffany Black, a state biologist at the Sen. “It helps people. But it’s one of these things that’s maligned and overlooked, and the more information the better.”

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