Odd looking Horseshoe Crab

I received this picture along with this email a couple of weeks ago. Take a look….

This is the letter that she sent.

“We found a horseshoe crab on the beach (Buckroe Beach in VA) While
observing the crab on the beach it looked very odd. So I took a couple of pictures.

After looking at a number of websites I still cant understand what I am looking at as all the pics on the sites don’t show anything like what I see.

Where book gills should be there are these organ looking things. (pic 2/ 085JPG) Now do you think something was ripped off of the crab or.. well what is it I am seeing?

My children and I are very interested to know.”

This is horseshoe crab that is about ready to molt. Horseshoe crabs molt their shells up to 18 times during their life. This is just a part of the growing process because the shell does not grow.

The horseshoe crab inflates itself with water (that’s why it looks so
strange) and this helps it break free of it’s shell, this is called molting.
Shorting after leaving the shell (molt) it will form a new shell that it will
keep until it’s ready to molt again.

With a horseshoe crab at the age of the one in the picture, that won’t be for probably another year or so.

David Hodgson (32 Posts)

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