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23.11.16

Horse Shoe Crab Release




A short stop in Lahad Datu for breakfast around 6am today turned into another Marine-life Rescue Mission for TRACC. Two Pala'u ladies arrived at the morning market with 3 horseshoe crabs. Both of them hardly speak any Malay so couldn't find out the exact location where they caught these pre-historic looking creatures. 
Anyway, bought all 3 horseshoe crabs and took them to Pom Pom island. I personally have only seen one here last year but we have seen many small ones in Kulapuan. Hope the release of one big female and two smaller males will bring back the population of horseshoe crabs around Pom Pom island. Our staff and volunteers were so excited to have this rare opportunity to handle these living fossils and releasing them back into the sea! - Gon

Horseshoe crabs are easy to catch and are often found in the fish market. They don't have any "meat" to speak of and taste a bit like fresh seaweed (salty, rubbery, cold and disgusting).

Horseshoe Crabs are often called "living fossils". The earliest record of them is in the Ordovician period 450,000,000 years old and they haven't changed much since.

They're more closely related to spiders than crabs but have 10 legs rather than 8 and external gills like a prawn.

They also have a peculiar number of "eyes". There are two compound eyes where you might expect them to be, but then there are five additional "eyes" that have different resolutions and functions - two of them respond to visible light and three to ultraviolet. There are also light receptors along the tail that helps the Horseshoe synchronize its body clock with light and day. Finally, there are two ventral (on the underside) eyes near its mouth.

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