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Horseshoe Crabs

Horseshoe Crabs:

Scientists have recently urged the Odisha government to immediately come up with a robust protection mechanism before the Horseshoe crabs (living fossil) becomes extinct due to destructive fishing practices.

  • The horseshoe crab is a marine chelicerate arthropod living in shallow coastal waters on soft sandy or muddy bottoms and spawns mostly on intertidal beaches at summer-spring high tides.
  • The Chelicerata is a division within the Arthropoda, containing animals such as spiders, scorpions, harvestmen, mites and ticks.
  • Like all arthropods, they have a segmented body and segmented limbs and a thick chitinous cuticle called an exoskeleton.
  • It is known as a marine ‘living fossil’.
  • Odisha is the largest habitat of horseshoe crabs in India.
  • Conservation status in India:
    • Wildlife Protection Act 1972: Schedule IV
    • IUCN Status
      • American horseshoe crab: Vulnerable
      • Tri-spine horseshoe crab: Endangered