What's in a Horseshoe Crab?

What's in a Horseshoe Crab?



this is a washer crab right here if an arthropod which means that it has jointed legs other arthropods are lobsters and crabs and insects and even though a vulture crab has the word crab in its name they're more closely related to scorpions and spiders now horseshoe crabs are invertebrates which mean they don't have a backbone but what they do have is a hard shell that shape just like a horseshoe it's got two eyes one there and one there those are compound eyes they see very very well and then there are two dots right here one here and here and those are simple eyes and they can see shadows in light a lot of people think those are the nostrils of the horseshoe crab but the horseshoe crab doesn't have a nose or nostrils there are also light receptors around her body and she can see shadows and light with them and there's one even on the tip of her tail she has a hinge here and a hinge here and those hinges help her to bend her hard shell now she has a tail right here or @lc and what that tail does is helps her to steer in the water and the left her will write like the rudder of a boat and when she's in the water upside down she can dig this tail into the sand and it helps her to turn over because her body here is very soft to the shore Berg could pick through it whereas her hard shell isn't as easy to get through she has little hairs all around her body and those help her to feel and also to if you look underneath her you'll see she's got appendages in front that she's in grab baby clams and sea worms with and when she's crawling she'll push those sea worms and baby clams towards her mouth that is surrounded by bristles and as she crawls the bristles will rub together and help to chew her food and then she's got a gizzard with sand and gravel inside that help her to chew her food as well she does not have a jaws so she can't chew her food like we do I know it's a female that's because her second set of appendages look like all of her other appendages they're pincher legs and the males have hooks in front in the second pendant and that's what they use to hold on to the female shell the very last set of appendages are her pushing feet they help to push her off in the sand and it looks kind of like a flower petal or daisies and one on either side and all the rest of her feet look like this and these are her walking legs she has gills right here these are her book gills she's got several of them and what they do with their gills of course is to breathe but they also flat them when they swim and it helps to propel them along now when she gets too big for this she'll she's going to molt and the way she does that is she sends water into her gills and bloats her body and the hard shell will break right here it will split open and she'll crawl out with a new shell on her the old shell will wash up on shore and a lot of people who find molten shells think that the Hosier crab is dead but actually the ocean crab isn't in there at all the butcher crab is swimming around with a brand new shell on that takes about 24 hours for it to get hard and the way you can tell if you found a molten shell is pick it up turn it upside down and if there's a hole here where the emotion crab escaped then you know it's a molten shell and the horseshoe crab grew about 25 to 33 percent when it melted you can never pick a push your crap up by its tail because it's very fragile it could break off and they need that tail turning over and Christy remember water so the best way to hold them is by the sides of their shell just like this now a horseshoe crab is a female takes ten years to reach reproductive maturity the male who should grab takes eight to nine years to reach reproductive maturity they will molt when they're first born up until about five or six years old about three or four times a year then when they get to be five or six they start molding about once a year and when they reach nine or ten ten with the females nine of the males they don't know much if at all from that point on the horseshoe crab is thought to live to be about twenty years old but most of them don't ever reach that ripe old age because loggerhead turtles like to eat them and show ever it's like to eat their eggs let me show you a tale fresh here and this male horseshoe crabs can see his second set of appendages are very different their hooks that they use to hook on to a female shell and you'll find females and males in swimming like this all the time hook together you

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