Love In the Springtime for Horseshoe Crabs

Behold, the mighty horseshoe crabs of the Indian River Lagoon are spawning again! While out and about for a quick shoreline cleanup this afternoon I spotted ten females digging into the sand with several males either attached or hovering about hoping to sneak in on all the action.  Such males are not uncommon in mating behaviors of horseshoe crabs elsewhere along the US Eastern coastline, but, spawning during the daytime is a little bit outside of my normal observations for them.

This is the second time in four years I’ve seen these crabs spawning in the early afternoon instead of the night time vigils their larger northeastern cousins maintain.  Back on April 15th, 2007 I spotted horseshoes nesting on this very same stretch of beach during daytime conditions.

If you are also lucky enough to spot spawning behavior in the next few weeks as we wind down from the recent full moon be sure to contact Fish and Wildlife to report the sighting.  Details like date, time, weather conditions, and numbers of mating pairs are important so be sure to take notes!