Called living fossils, horseshoe crabs are harmless creatures that have been swimming oceans for a few hundred million years. They predate dinosaurs and are closely related to spiders or scorpions. Every May and June, they crawl onto the beaches “from the Yucatan to Maine” to mate and lay eggs in the sand in mass numbers.

At the same time, hungry Red Knot birds on the way to the Arctic from the southern tip of South America are looking for those millions of little green horseshoe crab eggs so that they can eat. The nourishment helps them gain energy so that they can finish their long migration and breed, as well.

In this KQED Science on the Spot, Rendezvous With Horseshoe Crabs, learn about these two species and what local teams are doing to protect the balance of their interdependency.

To learn more about horseshoe crab conservation efforts, check out Science Friday’s report: Beach Season For Horseshoe Crabs.

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