Why Do Some Horseshoe Crabs Have A White Badge?
Did you know that some Horseshoe Crabs in the Delaware bay have a tag on them?
Did you also know that if you see a horseshoe crab with a tag you can upload the information online you get rewarded?
The Atlantic horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) is a fundamental part of the Delaware Bay’s ecology. Horseshoe crabs are an ancient species dating back over 450 million years. Their yearly spawning ritual plays a major role in the local ecology, mainly because their eggs provide an invaluable food source to migratory shorebirds. The spawning season of the horseshoe crab is the only time they come ashore which happen between May and June.
Since the early 1990s, overharvesting has resulted in a 90% drop in the population, with major consequences for shorebirds and other species that rely on them. About half of the remaining Atlantic horseshoe crabs lay their eggs in the Delaware Bay.
As important as they are, the US Government records data on horseshoe crabs by tagging them and tracking their movements. This is when they attached a circular plastic disk to their outside shell that has an ID number on it. When tagging them they take information about their size and location.
While this tag doesn’t have a tracker on it there are instructions on it that tells someone who sees it what they need to do. Those instructions tell you to take that ID number and enter it on a website. The website will ask for information such as where you found it, if it was found alive and what condition it was on.
This helps by providing scientific data on their population and migration. The best part about this program is that you get rewarded with some cool gifts.
In our video below you can see what you get when you report a horseshoe crab tag!
So if you see a horseshoe crab in the wild with a tag on it, be sure to write down the ID number and jump online to report it!
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