Friday, August 02, 2013

PREHISTORIC CUTENESS: A BABY HORSESHOE CRAB

While living on Seahorse Key for a week this summer, I tried to walk the flats every evening. We were out there during the "Super Moon" event, which meant that the extreme low spring tides of any full moon were "Super Sized".
 
The result was that the Gulf waters drained far and away from the shallow grassy flats on the outside of Seahorse Key exposing all kinds of awesome marine life and death drama.
Conchs, hermit crabs, whelks, tide pools with trapped fish wishing the tide back, wading birds, blue crabs, spider crabs, ... low tide life in abundance!
 
At one point during, what was for me, near total Intertidal Nerdvana, I happened to notice tiny trails in the muddy zone between the sandy beach and the beginning of the vast seagrass prairie.
 
Everyone knows that when you find a fascinating trail you should follow it ... and I did.
 
What I found at trail's end was a tiny bump in the sand.
 
An index finger "excavator" brought up the tiny horseshoe crab you see below.
 
 
 
You see a lot of horseshoe crabs around our Big Bend coast, and plenty of those in the summer will be juveniles, but this guy ... Wow!

So tiny.
So perfect ... no need to evolve much since the Paleozoic Era.
So damn cute.

Normally, I find it odd to use the word "cute" and horseshoe crab in the same sentence, but here, ladies and gentlemen, ... here is the exception.

While adult horseshoe crabs look like a creature that at any moment could suck on to your face and implant it's parasitic alien young inside you ... as infants, they have a definite, "Awwwww" factor.

What was REALLY AWWWWESOME was that a closer look at the mud flat revealed thousands of these tiny trails with a pea-sized horseshoe crab at the working end of each trail.

That's good news for the horseshoe crab population, good news for the fish, birds, and other marine life that will feed on this bounty, and good news for you humans whose medicines are checked for purity using an extract from horseshoe crabs.

When his photo shoot was over, I tucked this little horseshoe crab back into the comfortable embrace of the mud flat and wished him luck.





 

10 comments:

robin andrea said...

I love when you share your nerdvana moments! That is definitely a cute little critter.

Anonymous said...

Awww, that is awesome and he is cute. And yes, thanks for sharing all that you do.
Momadness

Pablo said...

I'm trying to imagine the story it had to tell all of its little friends.

Martha Dehne said...

That is the cutest thing that I've ever seen! Thank you for sharing! :)

Dawn said...

Horseshoe crabs are related to arachnids, yes? That's a very cute picture.

Caroline said...

Perfect tiny jewel from the sea!

threecollie said...

Wow, what wonder and delight, found just by looking for it. Thank you so much for taking time to share.

miz s said...

Nerdvana. HA!

Floridacracker said...

Hey Y'all,
Horseshoecrab.org has tons of great info on these critters. Thanks for commenting!

Mark P said...

Late to the party, as usual, but he is cute. I like Pablo's comment. Alien abduction!