28 February 2009

Help our horseshoe crabs on 8 Mar (Sun)

Our horseshoe crabs are threatened by abandoned drift nets, habitat loss and other human impacts.
Horseshoe crab entangled in abandoned driftnetThe Nature Society (Singapore) Horseshoe Crab Rescue team has been working on this issue for some time and is doing a survey on horseshoe crab populations, as well as running a survey-education effort of fishermen.

The project is looking for volunteers for an island-wide survey in four sectors. Each sector will have a Sector Leader.

There will be a survey-conservation education of fishermen by younger members/primary school students. Using a questionnaire as well as photos of both HSC species, free and entrapped, they will approach local and recreational fishermen at boat mooring sites and popular fishing areas around Singapore.

So if you can spare some time on 8 Mar (Sun) 2-6.30pm, please contact Dr Hsu Chia Chi at hsu_chia_chi@hotmail.com. It will be a great opportunity to make a difference for our horseshoe crabs, as well as learn more about them and some of the issues impacting our shores.

More details about this event on the Midnight Monkey Monitor blog by November.

More about our horseshoe crabs

Singapore has two species of horseshoe crabs. The Mangrove horseshoe crab (Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda) found mostly in our mangroves or nearby ecosystems and the Coastal horseshoe crab (Tachypleus gigas) found mostly on our other shore ecosystems.

The Mangrove horseshoe crab is listed as 'Vulnerable' and the Coastal horseshoe crab as 'Endangered' in the Singapore Red Data Book.

Horseshoe crab populations are vulnerable to 'unnatural' losses because they reproduce slowly. Few hatchlings make it through the natural predator net, they reach sexual maturity only at 9-12 years and are rarely found far from where they were born. There are so many of them only because they live for a long time, some up to 20-30 years.

Some interesting facts about horseshoe crabs:
  • They are NOT true crabs!
  • They don't use their tail to sting people.
  • They provided a substance used to test human medications.
  • Our horseshoe crabs are NOT the same as the kind found on the US Atlantic coastline. The American horseshoe crabs are famous for the relationship between their breeding cycle and migratory shorebirds.


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