Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fantastic Facts - Early Life

I am constantly amazed by the anatomy and physiology of horseshoe crabs.  But, equally amazing is their early life.  When you consider that fewer than one horseshoe egg out of 130,000 survives to adulthood, then the early life of a single individual has to be considered much more than astonishing - it is simply incredible!  Here are a few random facts (about a horseshoe crab's beginnings) I've collected in my investigations - in no particular order.  Please feel free to suggests others you feel to be equally compelling.
* A female may lay up to 100,000 eggs in a single nesting season.
* One hoseshoe egg can fit inside this O.
* During an egg's first day, there are eight distinct stages of development.
* In Delaware Bay embryo development may last from two weeks to several months.
* The embryo molts four times inside the egg.
* New larva swim upside down - paddling with their legs and book gills.
* Horseshoes molt 5-6 times in their first year.
* Horseshoe crabs eventually go through 18 stages of development.
Yes, they are truly amazing critters!!

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