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Estuaries such as Long Island Sound are among the most valuable ecosystems in the world. The Sound supports diverse marine life, including most of the fish and shellfish we value as food ..."
– Connecticut Sea Grant
Long Island Sound
 

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Horseshoe crab

Common Name: Horseshoe crabhorseshoeCrabcJimHerity

Latin Name: Limulus polyphemus

Size/weight:  Up to 24 inches long and 12 inches wide;  3 or 4 pounds.

Range: Found from Maine to the Yucatan (Mexico).

Habitat: Estuaries to continental shelf

Diet:  Worms, bivalves and other bottom dwelling creatures.

Predators:  Migratory shorebirds, humans (fishing bait).

Description:  The horseshoe crab’s name is somewhat misleading. Although it is shaped like a horseshoe, it’s no crab.  The horseshoe crab is an arachnid, a class of arthropods that also includes scorpions, spiders, mites and ticks.  With two main eyes, two simple (light sensing only) eyes and a mouth on the bottom, the horseshoe crab is well suited to life on the bottom.  A brownish segmented shell offers protection and a pointed tail helps the animal right itself; it’s not used for attacking or even self-defense.

Conservation Note: After surviving on Earth for 300 million years, horseshoe crab numbers are declining. A local study, in which The Maritime Aquarium participates, is looking to find out the health and habits of the horseshoe crab population in Long Island Sound.

See them in the Depths of the Sound gallery (in the Touch Tank, in their own Horseshoe Crabs exhibit and in the Schooling exhibit) »

 

 
 
 

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The Maritime Aquarium inspires people of all ages to appreciate Long Island Sound
and protect it for future generations. A vibrant and entertaining learning environment,
it achieves this goal through living exhibits, marine science, and environmental education.

10 North Water Street          Norwalk, CT 06854          Phone: 203.852.0700         Fax: 203.838.5416

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation

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