Young horseshoe crabs look like tiny versions of adults. (Rebecca Varney)

Young horseshoe crabs look like tiny versions of adults. (Rebecca Varney)

Round horseshoe crab eggs are revealed under the sand at Kimbles Beach, Middle Township, New Jersey. (AP/Jacqueline Larma)

Round horseshoe crab eggs are revealed under the sand at Kimbles Beach, Middle Township, New Jersey. (AP/Jacqueline Larma)

Horseshoe crabs swim in a tank at the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab in Panacea, Florida. (AP/Ric Feld)

Horseshoe crabs swim in a tank at the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab in Panacea, Florida. (AP/Ric Feld)

These tiny horseshoe crabs were raised in an aquaculture center in Lower Township, New Jersey. Later, they were released into the wild. (AP/Wayne Parry)

These tiny horseshoe crabs were raised in an aquaculture center in Lower Township, New Jersey. Later, they were released into the wild. (AP/Wayne Parry)

The horseshoe crab’s body is divided into three parts. The prosoma is the head. That’s also where the legs are. The opisthosoma has spines and gills. The telson is the long tail.

The horseshoe crab’s body is divided into three parts. The prosoma is the head. That’s also where the legs are. The opisthosoma has spines and gills. The telson is the long tail.

What Am I?

Posted: November 1, 2021

I have 10 legs and 10 eyes, but no teeth.
My body looks like a helmet with a long tail.
That tail comes to my rescue when I’m clumsy.
It flips me over when I get stuck on my back.

Inside my body, my blood is blue.
It is really good at fighting bad bacteria.
A long time ago, people figured out how to use my blood to help doctors.

My animal family lives on the ocean floor.
We feed on worms, clams, and algae.
You might find us on sandy beaches during a full Moon.
That’s when we come out of the water to breed and lay eggs.

We lay thousands of eggs, but most are gobbled up by birds, reptiles, and fish.
Some eggs hatch tiny larvae. (Each looks like a “mini-me” but without a tail.)
The larvae head back into the ocean to grow into adults.

Surprise! I’m not a crustacean.
I’m more like a scorpion or spider.

What am I? A Horseshoe Crab!

The horseshoe crab’s body is divided into three parts. The head is called the prosoma. It is round and U-shaped, like a horseshoe. It’s the largest body part. The brain, heart, mouth, nervous system, largest set of eyes, and some glands all exist inside the prosoma. (What it doesn’t have in there? Teeth!) It has 10 legs that crush food before passing it to the crab’s mouth.

The horseshoe crab’s belly is called the opisthosoma. It looks like a triangle. It has spines on the side and a ridge in the center. This part of the body has muscles for moving and gills for breathing.

The horseshoe crab’s third body part is the tail. It’s called the telson. It is long and pointed and looks very dangerous. But it is harmless.

God made horseshoe crabs helpful to people. Hurray for horseshoe crabs!