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The American Horseshoe Crab

The American Horseshoe Crab


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674011595
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 03/15/2004
Pages: 472
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About 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 SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Table of Contents


Robert B. Barlow

1. Synchronies in Migration: Shorebirds, Horseshoe Crabs, and Delaware Bay
Mark L. Botton and Brian A. Harrington, with Nellie Tsipoura and David Mizrahi

Research Note 1.1 Physiological Ecology of Shorebirds during Migration through the Delaware Bay Area

Research Note 1.2 The Importance of Weather Systems and Energy Reserves to Migrating Semipalmated Sandpipers

2. Nesting Behavior: A Shoreline Phenomenon
H. Jane Brockmann

Exhibit 2.1 Questions about Behavior

Exhibit 2.2 Decision Making in Animals

Exhibit 2.3 Studying Behavioral Adaptations

3. Male Competition and Satellite Behavior
H. Jane Brockmann

Exhibit 3.1 Language and Explanation in Behavior

Exhibit 3.2 The Process of Fertilization

Exhibit 3.3 Paternity Analysis in Horseshoe Crabs

4. Seeing at Night and Finding Mates: The Role of Vision
Robert B. Barlow and Maureen K. Powers

5. Growing Up Takes about Ten Years and Eighteen Stages
Carl N. Shuster, Jr., and Koichi Sekiguchi

Exhibit 5.1 Paths Taken: How the Authors Got Started

6. Horseshoe Crabs in a Food Web: Who Eats Whom?
Mark L. Botton and Carl N. Shuster, Jr., with John A. Keinath

Research Note 6.1 Predation of Horseshoe Crabs by Loggerhead Sea Turtles

7. A History of Skeletal Structure: Clues to Relationships among Species
Carl N. Shuster, Jr., and Lyall I. Anderson

Exhibit 7.1 Horseshoe Crab Look-Alikes

Exhibit 7.2 What AreHorseshoe Crabs?

8. Throughout Geologic Time: Where Have They Lived?
Lyall I. Anderson and Carl N. Shuster, Jr.

9. Coping with Environmental Changes: Physiological Challenges
David W. Towle and Raymond P. Henry

Exhibit 9.1 Cell Volume Regulation or Blood Ion Regulation?

Exhibit 9.2 Epithelial Cell Structure and Function

Exhibit 9.3 Hemocyanin, the Oxygen-Carrying Protein

Exhibit 9.4 Glossary of Terms

10. Diseases and Symbionts: Vulnerability Despite Tough Shells
Louis Leibovitz and Gregory A. Lewbart

Exhibit 10.1 Dr. Louis Leibovitz

Exhibit 10.2 How to Study a Disease

Exhibit 10.3 Pathological and Biological Terminology

Exhibit 10.4 A Key to the Identification of Diseases of Limulus

Exhibit 10.5 Maintaining Limulus in Captivity

11. A Blue Blood: The Circulatory System
Carl N. Shuster, Jr.

12. Internal Defense against Pathogenic Invasion: The Immune System
Peter B. Armstrong

Exhibit 12.1 Glossary

13. Clotting Cells and Limulus Amebocyte Lysate: An Amazing Analytical Tool
Jack Levin, H. Donald Hochstein, and Thomas J. Novitsky

14. King Crab Fertilizer: A Once-Thriving Delaware Bay Industry
Carl N. Shuster, Jr.

15. Horseshoe Crab Conservation: A Coast-Wide Management Plan
Carl N. Shuster, Jr., Mark L. Botton, and Robert E. Loveland

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