Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Horseshoe Crab: Living Fossils of the Sea


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Horseshoe Crab and its conservation

Mains level: NA

Horseshoe Crab


  • Environmental groups have petitioned the U.S. government to grant endangered species protection to the American horseshoe crab.
  • Horseshoe crabs, often called “living fossils,” have existed since before the age of dinosaurs.

About Horseshoe Crab

Habitat Shallow coastal waters with soft sandy or muddy bottoms;

Spawns primarily on intertidal beaches during summer-spring high tides.

Taxonomic Division Chelicerata, a division of Arthropoda, comprising spiders, scorpions, harvestmen, mites, and ticks; characterized by segmented body and limbs, and a chitinous exoskeleton.
Status Referred to as a marine “living fossil” due to minimal evolutionary changes over time.
Geographic Range American horseshoe crab: Eastern coast of the USA and the Gulf of Mexico.

Indo-Pacific species (Tri-spine, Coastal, Mangrove): Mainly in coastal waters of India, Southeast Asia, China, and Japan.

Habitat in India Odisha serves as the largest habitat for horseshoe crabs in India.
Conservation Status Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
IUCN Status American horseshoe crab: Vulnerable.

Tri-spine horseshoe crab: Endangered.

Other two are not listed yet.

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