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Merostomata - Horseshoe Crabs


Classification

 Kingdom: Animalia
 Phylum:
Arthropoda
 Subphylum: Chelicerata
 Class: Merostomata

Horseshoe CrabThere are four living species in this class. The horseshoe crabs you see today are little changed from the horseshoe crabs you might have seen 250 million years ago.

Horseshoe crabs have three body segments, the prosoma, the opisthosoma, and the telson . The prosoma is the horseshoe-shaped front part of the horseshoe crab's body. The horseshoe crab has ten eyes on the top of the prosoma and six pairs of appendages on the underside of the prosoma.

Five pairs of appendages are for walking and one pair of chelicera help the horseshoe crab move food into its mouth. The opisthosoma or abdomen connects to the prosoma with a hinge. The telson or tail is attached to the opisthosoma. Some people think that the telson is a stinger, but it is not. The horseshoe crab uses the telson to steer itself and to flip itself over if it gets turned on its back!

World Status Key
Least ConcernLeast Concern Near ThreatenedNear Threatened VulnerableVulnerable EndangeredEndangered Critically EndangeredCritically Endangered extinct in the wildExtinct in Wild extinctExtinct
Status and range is taken from ICUN Redlist. If no status is listed, there is not enough data to establish status.

US Status Key
Threatened in US Threatened in US Threatened in New Hampshire Threatened in NH Endangered in US Endangered in US Endangered in NH Endangered in NH Introduced Introduced
Status taken from US Fish and Wildlife and NH Fish and Game

Location Key
Africa Africa Asia Asia Australia Australia/Oceania Europe Europe North America North America South America South America New Hampshire Species NH More Info Click for More Info picture Click for Image

  New Hampshire Species

 

 North/Central American Species

Horseshoe Crab - Limulus polyphemus Near Threatened North America New Hampshire Species image More Info
   

Other Species Around the World

Mangrove Horseshoe Crab - Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda Asia image
Horseshoe Crab - Tachypleus gigas Asia image
  Tri-spine Horseshoe Crab - Tachypleus tridentatus Asia

Additional Information

 

Key: profile Profile Photos Photos Video Video Audio Audio

Horseshoe Crab - Limulus polyphemus profile Photos Video Near Threatened North America New Hampshire Species
Limulus polyphemus is found from Nova Scotia in Canada south to the Yucatan in Mexico.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Horseshoe Crab - Limulus polyphemus profile Photos Near Threatened North America New Hampshire Species
Limulus polyphemus feeds at night on worms, small molluscs, and algae.
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes