Real Science: Symbiosis between Crabs & Birds

The Symbiotic Relationship Between Horseshoe Crabs and Red Knots is Threatened by Overfishing of Crabs

On their migrations north, famished birds stop to feast on eggs laid by horseshoe crabs. But the crabs were overfished, and conservationists say that some bird species may not recover. ~ “The Shorebirds of Delaware Bay Are Going Hungry” by John Hurdle in The New York Times, June 3, 2019

Click here to read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/03/science/bird-migration-horseshoe-crabs.html


A stronghold of horseshoe crab mating, Delaware Bay is the site of active research to collect census data on the local — and threatened — species, Limulus polyphemus. The arrival of thousands of individual crabs every May and June gives scientists a rare but critical glimpse into population numbers, sex ratios, and other statistics needed for better management. ~ “The Secret Lives of Horseshoe Crabs” by Marah Hardt in Cool Green Science, August 11, 2016

Click here to read the full article: https://blog.nature.org/science/2016/08/11/the-secret-lives-of-horseshoe-crabs/


The four species of horseshoe crabs are an ancient (~450 million years old) and important species that support the ecological function of estuaries and the survival of migratory shorebirds. The current over-exploitation of horseshoe crabs is sadly not dissimilar to other mismanaged species that were driven to extinction. ~ from Revive-Restore.org