What species has been roaming the earth for more than 445 million years and still has significant importance in today’s modern society? They have the word crab in their name but actually are more closely related to spiders. If you have already figured out that we are talking about the infamous Horseshoe crab, you are now probably wondering why they are so important in today’s world besides, the fact that they are a major piece in the coastal water food chain.
Well the short answer is that they are the Sterile Kings and Queens! If you have ever received injections, vaccinations, or had a surgery then you have received help from the horseshoe crabs. This is how it works: medical labs have figured out that they can use a substance in a horseshoe crab’s copper-based bloom called Limulus Amebocyte Lysate. This is then used to ensure that all medical equipment is sterile before being used on patients. So the next time you see this “old” friend along the shoreline, give them a wave and say thank you for their blood donation!