i-8b151555cdc59c16b94b3ceebe998c3b-Delaware May 30 2009 049.JPG

A horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus), photographed at Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware. Many of the crabs that were stranded on the beach, but still alive, dug themselves into the sand near the water to stay moist during low tide.


  1. #1 Stella
    June 8, 2009

    Dude… they’re mating. If you poke around in the sand directly in front of a half-submerged horseshoe crab, you’ll find a completely submerged female horseshoe crab. They start at high tide, and if it’s low tide by the time they finish up, they’re perfectly capable of slogging back to the water on their own.

    Mid-May to mid-June is egg-laying season! Enjoy it before they all head out to deep water.

  2. #2 Laelaps
    June 8, 2009

    Stlla; I helped a few of the stranded ones get back out into the water, and not all of them were mating. Some where, but this one (for example) was not mating, which is good being it was relatively high on the beach.

  3. #3 Ellen
    June 9, 2009

    Actually, there is a concerted effort underway to turn them right-side up and when you do, they will scoot back into the water on their own. You have to be careful where you walk, because many are completely buried under the sand. But please, please do turn them over.

    It is really comical/sad to watch them try to right themselves. They put their undersides towards the water and when the tide washes up, it tips them back over onto their backs. If they would just push themselves the other way, the water would right them.

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