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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Oh, My! Is that a Horseshoe Crab in My Eye?

I learned something new today. The horseshoe crab’s shell (called chitin) is used in the manufacturing of contact lenses. Huh. It’s also used in skin creams and hair sprays.

Why am I sharing this?

I received a request today from one of the Green Guide Instructors. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) biologists are seeking a lil’ bit o help from the beach going public.

If you’re out and about and see horseshoe crabs spawning on any of Florida’s fabulous beaches, report the following to the FWC:

  • Time of the sighting
  • Date
  • Location
  • Number of horseshoe crabs seen
  • If the horseshoe crabs are spawning (you can observe discretely so not to embarrass the crabs)
This can be reported via the agency’s Web site (just click here).

Or, email the findings to

For those who are old school (and if you’re reading this blog, I find it hard to believe you’re old school), call the FWC at 1-866-252-9326.

Horseshoe crabs are pretty cool. While living in the Everglades, I would see hundreds of them mating each year, something wild to see. Really. They’d pile on top of each other, storming the shore. My dog was always freaked out by them and couldn’t stand the horseshoe crab shells.

Be a good observer, report your crab findings!

2 Comment(s):

Anonymous said...

I had never heard that Horseshoe crab shells were used in the manufacture of the contact lens! Thanks for getting that out to the public [or at least those of us reading your blog!] I have been alerted to much horseshoe crab information on my Google alert system, but this is the first bit of real news I've read about them in a long time. And thanks for contemplating helping with the counting of the creatures. Some naturalists believe they are going down in numbers so it's good to research this every now and then along the East coast. Love your blog!

jhuber7672 said...

Hi Deb! Thanks for stopping by. I was intrigue finding out all the uses and good horseshoe crabs do for our (human) benefit. I've also heard some naturalists think they're decreasing in numbers, hope that's not the case. They really are fascinating to watch.