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Friday, June 21, 2013

Horseshoe Crabs, and A Baby Turtle Egg

Today, we headed off to Cedar Key, with our Earth Kids group, to hunt for seashells. We got there just as high tide was beginning so finding seashells was a bit tricky. However, we did get to dig for some and found some. Cedar Key is not one of my favorite places to swim on the Gulf, the water is not clear and I can not see what is in there. Caitlin didn't mind though. The Horseshoe Crabs were mating and nesting. This means while they are mating the male is fertilizing the eggs that the the female was dropping into the sand below her. What I did not realize is that they do this right along the shoreline. They lay up to 120,00 eggs at a time, really! Unfortunately birds eat most of the eggs before they mature. Well duh why don't they bury them in further? I don't know either. Anyway according to the sign posted, they do this until July 1st so they don't all do it at the same time like Sea Turtles do. We saw like 15 Horseshoe Crabs, but they were not all mating. When I got home I just had to look up when the eggs will hatch, so hopefully we can catch it. Of course it has to do with moon and tide cycles, but in about two weeks they will be ready. Of course that doesn't mean anything, they can actually wait months to hatch. Ugh how am I supposed to witness a miraculous event on such a weird schedule? Then we found what appears to be a turtle egg that someone stepped on or something stepped on it. It was open and obviously not viable anymore. At first we thought it was a baby bird, but when I cleaned it off in the water it actually appeared to be a baby turtle. I brought it home so we can look at it under the microscope. Neat huh? Anyway back to the Horseshoe Crabs, which btw are not really crabs. Their eggs are so tiny that one picture I looked at showed like 15 eggs on the end of someone's finger. They are teeny tiny. I hope to get to witness the event of them hatching, but I am not optimistic. Cedar Key is about an hour from my house and well you know what that means.  Oh and that barb thing they have it is not dangerous.  We didn't know that either.  It looks dangerous.  The kids had a ball and we ended up learning about stuff we didn't even mean to. Love it! To learn more about Horseshoe Crabs and see their eggs visit the two links shown.  Oh and speaking of moons this weekend, with Sunday the optimal day, is the Super Moon.  I hope it stays clear so I can get some awesome shots.  Don't miss it if you are geek like me.
http://www.ceoe.udel.edu/horseshoecrab/History/lifestages.html
http://horseshoe-crabs.com/are-horseshoe-crabs-dangerous/



4 comments:

betchai said...

indeed, why don't they bury them further? last night i saw in discovery channel too how yellofin tuna would lay thousands of eggs, but they also float on the water where birds can easily feed on

Melissa said...

Maybe they are not very smart, or maybe they need the water to keep them moist. I have no idea, but it seems as though they would come up with something better.

Small Town Mommy said...

What a great outing. I hope you make it back to see the hatching.

Melissa said...

Me too, but I am not optimistic with such a huge window for them to hatch.