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Basic Habitat Requirements of the Extant Species of Horseshoe Crabs (Limulacea)

  • Carl N. ShusterJr.
  • Koichi Sekiguchi
Chapter

Abstract

Because horseshoe crabs (Limulacea) are ecological generalists that exist in more-or-less discrete populations within a variety of habitats throughout their ranges, we cannot explore all the possibilities within this short chapter. We have concentrated, therefore, on the two major habitats that have supported large population of horseshoe crabs (the Seto Inland Sea, Japan, and Delaware Bay, USA) and the species with which we are most familiar (the Japanese horseshoe crab Tachypleus tridentatus and the American species Limulus polyphemus), including differences between the populations, their habitats, and their distribution, including how the last Great Ice Age probably affected that distribution.

In general, the attributes of prime habitats include quality and quantity of those habitats beneficial to the species throughout their life cycle: tidal streams and marshes; lengthy sandy beaches with low wave force; inshore, often intertidal shallow-water areas; a large food resource; a favorable hydroclimate; the deeper water region of the bay; and the immediate continental shelf. Because horseshoe crab behavior helps to identify the range of environmental parameters within which the crabs are more successful, we also considered the major life stages in their life cycle.

Keywords

Continental Shelf Sandy Beach Horseshoe Crab Glacial Outwash Atlantic State Marine Fishery Commission 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Virginia Institute/School of Marine Science, The College of William & MaryArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.University of Tsukuba, Ushigasane, Kisai-machiSaitama-kenJapan

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