Discovering Tiny Juvenile Horseshoe Crab on First Day of Spring

fds 001 480

Tiny Juvenile Horseshoe Crab in Palm of Don’s Hand

A glorious first day on Spring 2010 visited Outer Cape Cod with bright sunshine and temperatures in the low 60s.  We began taking water temperature today as we await the emergence of diamondback terrapins once it reaches a sustainable 12.5 Celsius.  Today’s water temperature in Blackfish Creek in South Wellfleet at 2:30 pm hit 11.0 Celsius … after the tidal flats were baked by a morning low tide.  While we found a number of species showing for the first time today, we were disappointed in not observing any horseshoe crabs in the shallows.  We saw what could have been some horseshoe crab crawls in the submerged sand, but nothing definitive.

Discovering Tiny Juvenile Horseshoe Crab in Marsh Channel

Nothing, that is, until we examined a protected salt marsh creek in the Fox Island Wildlife Management Area off Indian Neck.  We spied a tiny juvenile horseshoe crab crawling along the oozy bottom and Don attempted a capture with his sampling net.

fds 003 480

Tiny Juvenile Horseshoe Crab Mugs for Camera

Horseshoe crabs seem like prehistoric critters, but this little one managed to evoke a certain “cuteness” factor.  Here the juvie poses for the camera at the edge of Don’s fingers.

Examining Tiny Juvenile Horseshoe Crab

The Turtle Journal team spent several minutes examining this little creature in great detail.  We don’t often get to see juvenile horseshoe crabs in the wild, especially so early in the spring season.  The FIRST day of spring, in fact!

fds 002 480

Bottom of Tiny Juvenile Horseshoe Crab

Quite comical with appendages moving in every which direction, this cutie let us know that it was time to return to the safety of the wild.

Releasing Tiny Juvenile Horseshoe Crab Back into Marsh

Sue released the tiny horseshoe crab back into the same spot in the marsh channel where we collected the juvenile a few minutes earlier.

fds 004 480

Tiny Juvenile Horseshoe Crab Burrows in Marsh Ooze

The tiny horseshoe crab headed directly to the bottom of the channel and slowly dug itself into the ooze.

Comments are closed.