Milford Library plans horseshoe crab presentation

Terry RogersAbove the fold, Culture, Headlines, Milford-live

In partnership with the American Littoral Society, Milford Public Library will hold a Horseshoe Crab Field Presentation on Tuesday, May 14 from 4 to 5:30 PM at the Slaughter Beach Pavilion. The program is made possible with funding from the Robert F. Schumann Foundation.

“This program will provide detailed information on the importance of the horseshoe crab to our area,” Carolyn Tabor, Program Director for the library said. “We are thrilled to have the American Littoral Society provide details on these interesting creatures.”

The American Littoral Society was founded by Dr. Lional A. Walford of the Sandy Hook Marine Lab as a bridge between science and the public. In the 1960s, the society divers gathered data on fish and invertebrates and defended a valuable diving spot off of Fire Island. Today, they focus on education, conservation, advocacy, fish tagging and presentations on the environment.

“During the months of May through August, horseshoe crabs return to Slaughter Beach, with the best times to see them from late May to late June,” Tabor said. “They come onto the beach to spawn and sometimes the waves will flip them upside down. Since they sometimes have difficulty themselves over, some die in the hot sun.”

According to experts, if you see a horseshoe crab lying on its back, gently turn it over by its shell. Never pick the crab up by its tail and if you come across one that is tagged, do not remove the tag as it is being tracked by scientists. Instead, take the information from the tag and report it following the directions.

Horseshoe crabs predate dinosaurs as the oldest known version of the species is nearly 450 million years old. There are four species known today, but the ones that appear on Slaughter Beach are the Atlantic horseshoe crab. They are not actually crabs but are more closely related to spiders and legs near their mouth help them consume worms, mollusks and crustaceans. Horseshoe crabs are not dangerous, and their tails are used to help them steer as well as flip over if they get stuck on their backs.

“We are excited for people to learn more about these fascinating creatures,” Tabor said. “The program is free but does require registration.”

To register for the Horseshoe Crab Field Presentation, call Trever Metz at the American Littoral Society at 302-245-5064. You can also register by visiting the Milford Public Library website.

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