Horseshoe Crabs – Part of The Food Web

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ambience: shorebirds and waves, horseshoe crabs

The horseshoe crab is one of the oldest species on earth, and recently, it’s being harvested as bait. Well this has decreased the crab population and affected other species that depend on the Horseshoe crab for their survival. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Each May, on the beaches of Delaware Bay, hordes of horseshoe crabs bury their eggs in the sand. Well during this spawning period, thousands of migrating shore birds stop at the beach, to feed on the eggs. Mike Haramis is a wildlife biologist.

“Well the issue in Delaware Bay is that there is now a commercial interest in harvesting horseshoe crabs. It’s put a great demand on the horseshoe crabs. Basically you can get a dollar a piece for these big, gravid females just simply picking them up on the beach and throwing them in the back of your pickup truck. And so millions of horseshoe crabs have apparently been harvested over the last half decade.”

To help save the horseshoe crab, scientists have had to show that the crabs are an important part of the food web in Delaware Bay.
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“Well what we’re trying to do is show that the horseshoe crab eggs are the main part of the diet of shorebirds, and I think that’s a relatively clear picture when you visit Delaware Bay in May and you see hundreds of thousands of shorebirds eating crab eggs.”

According to Mike Haramis, the shore birds rely on crab eggs to provide them with enough energy to continue their migratory flight to the Arctic Circle. By analyzing the shorebirds’ blood, scientists have determined that the horseshoe crabs are an important part of the birds’ diet — and if the crab becomes extinct, it’s likely that the same thing will happen to the birds. Well the research has paid off — legislation is now in place that protects horseshoe crabs from being over harvested.

Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

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Horseshoe Crabs - Part of The Food Web

Horseshoe crabs are being harvested for bait, threatening their survival as well as the migrating birds which depend upon them for food.
Air Date:05/02/2008
Scientist:
Transcript:

music
ambience: shorebirds and waves, horseshoe crabs

The horseshoe crab is one of the oldest species on earth, and recently, it's being harvested as bait. Well this has decreased the crab population and affected other species that depend on the Horseshoe crab for their survival. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Each May, on the beaches of Delaware Bay, hordes of horseshoe crabs bury their eggs in the sand. Well during this spawning period, thousands of migrating shore birds stop at the beach, to feed on the eggs. Mike Haramis is a wildlife biologist.

"Well the issue in Delaware Bay is that there is now a commercial interest in harvesting horseshoe crabs. It's put a great demand on the horseshoe crabs. Basically you can get a dollar a piece for these big, gravid females just simply picking them up on the beach and throwing them in the back of your pickup truck. And so millions of horseshoe crabs have apparently been harvested over the last half decade."

To help save the horseshoe crab, scientists have had to show that the crabs are an important part of the food web in Delaware Bay.
.
"Well what we're trying to do is show that the horseshoe crab eggs are the main part of the diet of shorebirds, and I think that's a relatively clear picture when you visit Delaware Bay in May and you see hundreds of thousands of shorebirds eating crab eggs."

According to Mike Haramis, the shore birds rely on crab eggs to provide them with enough energy to continue their migratory flight to the Arctic Circle. By analyzing the shorebirds' blood, scientists have determined that the horseshoe crabs are an important part of the birds' diet -- and if the crab becomes extinct, it's likely that the same thing will happen to the birds. Well the research has paid off -- legislation is now in place that protects horseshoe crabs from being over harvested.

Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

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