"Horseshoe Crabs Are Now in Danger"

"MIAMI - In matters of love, nothing says romance like a moonlit beach. Especially if you're a lusty horseshoe crab and the tide is high.

Every spring, from Florida to New Jersey, crabs that look more like fossils than a postcard for passion make their way ashore by the thousands when the moon is bright to lay millions of eggs that provide critical food for migrating shorebirds. But in the 1990s, their numbers began falling. Scientists aren't sure why but they suspect the continuing decline stems from fishing, loss of habitat and a global demand for their sky-blue blood, which is used to screen for toxins in injectable drugs.

As with most things in nature, one thing is always connected to another. The shortage of crabs has led to fewer eggs and a major decline in shorebirds that rely on the eggs for food."

Jenny Staletovich reports for the Associated Press March 30, 2014.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014