The American Horseshoe Crab

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Overview

The American horseshoe crab that comes ashore on the East Coast in vast numbers to mate and nest is much the same creature that haunted the coast before the time of the dinosaurs. It is among the world's most intensely studied marine invertebrates, critical to our understanding of many groups of organisms, both modern and extinct, and crucial to the ecology of large estuaries such as the Delaware Bay. Some stocks of this great survivor, whose ancestors made it through the mass extinction some 286 million years ago, have been severely depleted today because of overfishing and habitat destruction.

Carl N. Shuster, Jr., H. Jane Brockmann, and Robert B. Barlow are at the forefront of research on Limulus polyphemus, and in this book they bring together twenty scientists who have worked on all aspects of horseshoe crab biology to compile the first fully detailed, comprehensive view of the species. An indispensable resource, the volume describes the horseshoe crab's behavior, natural history, and ecology; its anatomy, physiology, distribution, development, and life cycle; the puzzle of its immune system; and its present management and future conservation.

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Editorial Reviews

Science

Overall, The American Horseshoe Crab is a fine compendium of information, one I will refer to frequently. The volume also provides an essential tool for anyone involved with developing the regulations that will be required to protect this intriguing species in perpetuity.
— Mark S. Garland

Philadelphia Inquirer

[This] has to be the most thorough book on this amazing creature ever written or ever likely to be written. It is a compilation of essays by some of the crab's foremost researchers...It would be a sad loss if this book were destined merely for reference shelves and university libraries. Each section has its entry point for the novice, its tidbit of fascinating information, ripe for mining by anyone with an inquisitive mind.
— Sandy Bauers

New Scientist

Look inside The American Horseshoe Crab and you'll find everything you ever wanted to know about these living trilobite lookalikes from their much filmed shoreline mating to their historic use as fertiliser. This wonderfully illustrated and detailed compendium of information about the horseshoe or king crab is a must for anyone interested in marine arthropods both fossil and living.
— Douglas Palmer

BBC Wildlife

This book is a superbly produced synthesis of modern knowledge, in 15 chapters written by 20 experts. It is fully illustrated, with 33 colour plates and many line drawings, and there is an extensive bibliography...This scholarly text is essential for all serious students of arthropods. And it is eminently readable, too.
— Euan N. K. Clarkson

Science - Mark S. Garland
Overall, The American Horseshoe Crab is a fine compendium of information, one I will refer to frequently. The volume also provides an essential tool for anyone involved with developing the regulations that will be required to protect this intriguing species in perpetuity.
Philadelphia Inquirer - Sandy Bauers
[This] has to be the most thorough book on this amazing creature ever written or ever likely to be written. It is a compilation of essays by some of the crab's foremost researchers...It would be a sad loss if this book were destined merely for reference shelves and university libraries. Each section has its entry point for the novice, its tidbit of fascinating information, ripe for mining by anyone with an inquisitive mind.
New Scientist - Douglas Palmer
Look inside The American Horseshoe Crab and you'll find everything you ever wanted to know about these living trilobite lookalikes from their much filmed shoreline mating to their historic use as fertiliser. This wonderfully illustrated and detailed compendium of information about the horseshoe or king crab is a must for anyone interested in marine arthropods both fossil and living.
BBC Wildlife - Euan N. K. Clarkson
This book is a superbly produced synthesis of modern knowledge, in 15 chapters written by 20 experts. It is fully illustrated, with 33 colour plates and many line drawings, and there is an extensive bibliography...This scholarly text is essential for all serious students of arthropods. And it is eminently readable, too.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674011595
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2004
  • Pages: 472
  • Sales rank: 824,158
  • Product dimensions: 8.26 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 1.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Carl N. Shuster, Jr., is Adjunct Professor of Marine Science, College of William and Mary.

H. Jane Brockmann is Professor of Zoology, University of Florida, Gainesville.

Robert B. Barlow is Professor of Ophthalmology at the SUNY Upstate Medical University.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Prologue 1
1 Synchronies in Migration: Shorebirds, Horseshoe Crabs, and Delaware Bay 5
2 Nesting Behavior: A Shoreline Phenomenon 33
3 Male Competition and Satellite Behavior 50
4 Seeing at Night and Finding Mates: The Role of Vision 83
5 Growing Up Takes about Ten Years and Eighteen Stages 103
6 Horseshoe Crabs in a Food Web: Who Eats Whom? 133
7 A History of Skeletal Structure: Clues to Relationships among Species 154
8 Throughout Geologic Time: Where Have They Lived? 189
9 Coping with Environmental Changes: Physiological Challenges 224
10 Diseases and Symbionts: Vulnerability Despite Tough Shells 245
11 A Blue Blood: The Circulatory System 276
12 Internal Defense against Pathogenic Invasion: The Immune System 288
13 Clotting Cells and Limulus Amebocyte Lysate: An Amazing Analytical Tool 310
14 King Crab Fertilizer: A Once-Thriving Delaware Bay Industry 341
15 Horseshoe Crab Conservation: A Coast-Wide Management Plan 358
Authors and Contributors 381
References 383
Acknowledgments 419
Index 421
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