It’s mating season: FWC asking people to report sighting of horseshoe crabs for research

ORLANDO, Fla. — Spring is in the air, and that means it’s peak season mating season for horseshoe crabs.

To help learn more about this prehistoric creature, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking for citizens to report sightings of mating horseshoe crabs.


According to the National Wildlife Federation, “Horseshoe crabs have been around for more than 300 million years, making them even older than dinosaurs. They look like prehistoric crabs, but are actually more closely related to scorpions and spiders. The horseshoe crab has a hard exoskeleton and 10 legs, which it uses for walking along the seafloor.”

Horseshoe crabs mate year-round, but are more common during the months of March and April, as well as September and October.

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During mating, a smaller male pairs up with a larger female. Then they crawl on the beach where the female digs a nest and lays her eggs, which the male fertilizes.

Beachgoers will have the most luck spotting horseshoe crabs around high tide within a few days of a new or full moon.

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If you see a horseshoe crab on its back, you can help it flip back over by gently picking it up (holding both sides of the shell), turning it over and releasing it back into the water.

The FWC asks the public to report sightings by visiting MyFWC.com/research and clicking on “Crustaceans” then “Horseshoe Crabs” and selecting “Report Your Nesting Horseshoe Crab Sighting.”

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