These amazing creatures predate the dinosaurs by millions of years. Although we refer to them as “crabs,” they are not crustaceans, and are more closely related to spiders than crabs. Because Horseshoe Crabs live in protected coastal waters, all photos were taken along Port Royal Sound on the north end of the island.
Horseshoe Crabs spend most of their lives moving along the ocean floor like a small tank, eating whatever lay in their way- fish, shellfish, worms, dead and decaying matter, and even algae. These animals have five pairs of walking legs and, a pair in the front, and one pair of pusher legs in the back used for swimming. (Did you know that they swim upside-down?). They have external book gills (so named because they sorta, kinda look like the pages of a book) that are used for breathing, but also assist with swimming.
This video is of the crabs swimming in the pooled water around the jetty at the heel of the island. You’ll notice smaller males clinging to the backs of the larger females. For more about the spawning of the Horseshoe Crabs, visit my post from May 7, 2016.
Spawning at the jetty…