When was the last time you said “I love you” to a horseshoe crab? You’ll have the perfect opportunity on June 20th, when Cape Cod celebrates International Horseshoe Crab Day. Local organizations have set up a crab-load of activities and presentations to mark the occasion.
International Horseshoe Crab Day was established a few years ago by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a group made up of governmental, academic and other organizations, which describes itself as a “global authority on the state of the natural world and its protection.” necessary measures.”
According to the IUCN website: “The world’s horseshoe crab populations are at risk, because of over-harvesting for use as food, forage and biomedical testing, and because of habitat loss from coastal reclamation and development. Coastline changes that are engineered to protect beaches from erosion and sea level rise due to climate change also affect their breeding habitats.”
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Mark Faherty, science coordinator for Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, said Cape horseshoe crab populations are under stress from these factors, although people do not use them for food here.
In addition to using horseshoe crabs for forage, “the biomedical industry uses the blood of horseshoe crabs to produce Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL), which is used to test medical equipment and supplies for the bacteria.” that can make people sick,” according to the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries. Faherty said most horseshoe crabs survive being caught, bleed and released, but have a mortality rate in the neighborhood of 15 to 30%.
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Challenges aside, Faherty said he has noticed that people from Cape Cod have a real affinity for horseshoe crabs.
“Talk about timeless design,” he said. “People love them.”
That throwback, helmet-like appearance has been around for a very long time. According to the University of Rhode Island, “Atlantic horseshoe crabs are considered living fossils, and are among the most primitive arthropods. They have existed in their present form since the Devonian period, about 360 million years ago.”
Read below for a list of events around Cape Cod – there’s a lot going on!
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June 19, 2022, Festival of Horseshoe Crabs Salt Pond Visitor Center at 50 Nauset Road, Eastam.
Rangers will join horseshoe crab teachers Gary and Sharon Creamer to share the life history and wonders of one of Earth’s most ancient and wonderful animals. Drop in between 10 am and 3 pm for practical activities. There will be an indoor illustrated show from 1 to 2 pm, and a walk to view the spawning crabs from 4 pm to 5 pm. Reservations are required for the free walk and can be made up to a week in advance by calling the Salt Pond Visitor Center at (508) 255-3421, Extn. 9.
June 20, 2022, Horseshoe Crab Science
Meet at 1 p.m. at East Harbor on High Head Road, Provincetown. Join Cape Cod National Seashore Aquatic Ecologist Sophia Fox and Antioch University researchers to see what the restoration of the East Harbor and saltwater reintroduction nearly two decades ago has meant for horseshoe crabs and how today’s populations are Is. Wear shoes/shoes that can get wet and muddy (scientists will have some to borrow as well). The program has a scheduled time of one hour. No registration or reservation required.
17th June 2022, 7 PM to 8 PM
International Horseshoe Crab Day Virtual Lecture: Horseshoe Crab Conservation on Cape Code
Science coordinator Faherty, who oversees Wellfleet Bay’s annual Horseshoe Crab Spawning Survey and Mark and Recapture Program, talks about the basics of horseshoe crab biology and how humans use them, long-term research results and advocacy work, and interest in recent events will present a talk on the events of Biomedical use of horseshoe crabs. Free with registration required.
18 June 2022, 10:30 am to noon
Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, 291 Route 6, South Wellfleet
In Search of Horseshoe Crabs: Tagging and Research in Wellfleet Bay
Wellfleet Bay will uncover the native Atlantic Horseshoe Crab, a species that dates back 400 million years but today faces serious challenges from habitat loss and increasing pressure from human use. Free, but registration is required. Please dress weather-appropriately and wear shoes that can get wet and muddy and arrive and check-in 10 minutes before the start of the event. For more information contact
869 Main Street (Route 6A), Brewster,
20 June 2022
International Horseshoe Crab Day 10am-3pm (free with museum admission)
Horseshoe Crab Kiosk: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Horseshoe Crab Feed: 11:30 a.m.
“Superheroes: Cape Cod Horseshoe Crabs” with Brenda Bolin: 1 p.m.
Paint the Horseshoe Crab!: Under the Tents at 2 p.m.
21 June to 24 June 2022
Celebrate the Horseshoe Crab
Horseshoe Crab Kiosk: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Story time: 10:15 am
Auditorium Art: 10:15 a.m.
Horseshoe Crab Feed: 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
June 23: 12:30 pm
Nature Screen: A special screening of Brewster native Allison Argo’s documentary film Crash: A Tale of Two Species – Horseshoe Crabs and Red Knots. Free with admission to the museum.
National Horseshoe Crab Day Guided Beach Walk
June 20, 2 pm to 3 pm (this walk is complete, but another may be scheduled). Visit the Harwich Conservation Trust website for updated information. Naturalist and horseshoe crab enthusiast Andrea Higgins shares facts about Limulus polyphemus in a pleasant bay.