The Characteristics Of The Horseshoe Crab, Limulus Polyphemus?

Topics: Arthropod, Arthropod, Limulidae Pages: 5 (1179 words) Published: January 22, 2018


The Horseshoe Crab, scientifically named Limulus Polyphemus, is an ancient creature that not many people know much about. The Horseshoe Crab is part of the Limulidae family, which is the marine arthropods. The Horseshoe Crab’s closest relatives are Trilobites back from the Paleozoic which is coincidently when the Horseshoe crab first began to develop. (Reference 2) In modern times the Horseshoe crab is not labelled as a crustacean despite its name. The Horseshoe Crab is closely related chelicerates including spiders, ticks, and scorpions than real crabs. (Reference 3) The characteristics of chelicerates are a segmented body, a chitinous exoskeleton, molting, and jointed legs. (Reference 6). Through evolution these invertebrates have survived millions of years with minimal evolution and are beneficial to there animals in the ocean. The Horseshoe Crab also provides home to many organisms such as flat worms and small mollusks. These in turn also help the Horseshoe Crab by eating any undigested food and helping protect the vulnerable back of the crab.

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Since they are such an old species, Horseshoe Crabs are actually considered to be “living fossils” that haven’t evolved much in the last millions of years. (Reference 3) A Horseshoe Crab does not just walk around on its legs, it uses its jointed body and tail so maneuver around and actually swims upside down. Speaking of their legs, Horseshoe Crabs have the ability to regrow limbs such as their legs or tail. A scary as they may look, they cant hurt humans unless a human were step on them. Since Horseshoe Crabs can live to over 20 years old, Horseshoe Crabs must molt six times within their first year of living growing 25-33% each time. Even after that year they will occasionally molt. Horseshoe Crabs are extremely interesting creatures that can teach valuable lessons in many fields such as medicine and...
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