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Horseshoe crabs UPSC NOTE

 Why in news 

  • Environmental groups on Monday petitioned the U.S. government seeking endangered species protection for the American horseshoe crab, a "living fossil" under threat from commercial harvests for bait and biomedical use as well as from habitat loss and climate change.

  • These spine-tailed sea creatures named for the shape of their body shells have been crawling ashore since long before the age of dinosaurs, and in modern times were a familiar sight to summer beachgoers along the U.S. mid-Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.

Horseshoe crabs

  • Horseshoe Crabs are the living Fossils with Fascinating Features.

  • Horseshoe crabs are ancient creatures, often referred to as living fossils, that have been roaming the Earth for over 300 million years – even predating dinosaurs.

  • Despite their name, they are not true crabs or crustaceans, but rather chelicerates, more closely related to spiders and scorpions.

Appearance:

  • Horseshoe-shaped carapace: Their hard exoskeleton resembles a horseshoe, hence the name.

European Free Trade Association

  • 10 legs: They use 8 for walking and 2 for grasping food.

  • Tail spine: A long, spiky tail for defense and balance.

  • Multiple eyes: They have several eye types, including compound eyes for vision and median eyes for UV light detection.

Habitat and Lifestyle:

  • Marine and brackish waters: Found on sandy or muddy bottoms along coasts.

  • Scavengers: They feed on worms, mollusks, and other small prey using their chelicerae.

  • Breeding rituals: Mass gatherings on beaches during high tides, with females laying thousands of eggs.

  • Molting: They shed their exoskeleton multiple times as they grow.

  • Long lifespan: They can live for over 20 years.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Horseshoe crabs UPSC NOTE
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