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Biologists Seek Public's Help to Identify Mating Crabs


You may have seen them on the beach, getting lovey-dovey in broad daylight. Perhaps you did your best to look away.

But we’re not talking about college kids having a spring break fling.

We’re talking about horseshoe crabs.

Spring is mating season for horseshoe crabs, and biologists at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) want the public’s help in pinpointing exactly when and where the critters get down to business. That’s because horseshoe crabs are vital to marine ecosystems. Their eggs are an important food source for birds, and pharmaceutical companies use their blood to sterilize vaccines.

So how do you identify the little exhibitionists? Look for a smaller male crab on top of a larger female crab, sometimes surrounded by a group of other meddlesome male crabs. Your best chance to spot the canoodling creatures is around high tide, such as the full moon coming up on March 27.

If you see any crabs in action, you can report the date, location, habitat type and other specifics of the encounter to the FWC.

There are three ways to relay the salacious details:

Because privacy is overrated.

"I host a food podcast" is a great icebreaker at parties.
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