HORSESHOE CRABS

  • Horseshoe crabs are disappearing off Odisha’s coast.
  • Horseshoe crabs are marine and brackish water arthropods of the family.
  • Despite their name, they are not true crabs or crustaceans, they are chelicerates, most closely related to arachnids such as spiders, ticks, and scorpions.
  • Horseshoe crabs live primarily in and around shallow coastal waters on soft, sandy or muddy bottoms.
  • They are generally found in the intertidal zone at spring high tides.
  • This is the oldest living creature on earth.
  • Palaeontological studies say the age of horseshoe crabs is 450 million years.
  • The creature has lived on earth without undergoing any morphological change.

Medicinal value

  • The blood of this crab is very important for the preparation of rapid diagnostic reagents.
  • All injectable medicines are tested on them.
  • A molecule has been developed from a reagent of horseshoe crab to help treat pre-eclampsia.

Conservation:

The species is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List specifically because of overexploitation and loss of critical habitat.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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