The Ultimate Guide to Horseshoe Crabs at Delaware Bay

The Ultimate Guide to Horseshoe Crabs at Delaware Bay

The Ultimate Guide to Horseshoe Crabs at Delaware Bay The spawning of the horseshoe crabs at Delaware Bay is an extraordinary spectacle to behold.   Horseshoe Crab Mating As the high tides sweep in, males cling to the back of the female onto the shoreline of Delaware Bay.  The female digs into the sand and releases eggs every few feet which are then fertilized by the male. After the mating is complete, the horseshoe crabs at Delaware Bay return to the water, and the waves wash sand overtop of the eggs. There is a yearly spawning report that accepts volunteers to help count the numbers of horseshoe crabs that come ashore each year. Diminishing Horseshoe Crab Population The horseshoe crabs at Delaware Bay are largely decreasing in population due to development and poor water quality, according to marine biologist, Dr. Clare McBane, from New Hampshire Fish and Game. The National Wildlife Federation further credits the population decline to habitat loss and human predation for use in conch and eel bait.   Since the horseshoe crab population is diminishing, so is the population of the Red Knots shore birds, who really on the crab eggs for food. These shore birds frequent the Delaware Bay area to feed on the horseshoe crab eggs every spring. Red Knots The rufa subspecies of Red Knots were listed as a threatened federal candidate species under the Endangered Species Act since 2006. This status means the bird is likely to become endangered, facing extinction, in the foreseeable future. The Red Knots fell from 100,000 to 25,000 along the Delaware Bay, as reported by SmithsonianMag in 2009. Fast...
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