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Publication #WEC184

The Horseshoe Crab: A Poster1

Jami McLaughlin, Frans Lanting, David Griffis, Martin Main2


The American horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) is an important component of Florida's coastal environment. This unusual looking animal is poorly understood and often feared by people as potentially dangerous. Consequently, horseshoe crabs are sometimes killed or otherwise mistreated. People can aid horseshoe crabs that have been flipped upside-down by turning them over onto their legs. A poster concerning the ecology and conservation of the American horseshoe crab can be printed as a PDF file from this document. Select the PDF printer friendly version to print the poster, which is appropriate for increasing knowledge about and appreciation for this unusual and ecologically important sea creature. For more information about the Florida Master Naturalist Program, please visit



This poster was developed as a product of the Florida Master Naturalist Program and reviewed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Florida Marine Research Institute. This document is Fact Sheet WEC 184, one of a series of the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication date September 2004. Reviewed November 2012. Please visit the EDIS website at


Jami McLaughlin and Frans Lanting are graduates of the Florida Master Naturalist Program (FMNP) Coastal Systems Module; David Griffis is a Volusia County Extension agent and FMNP Instructor, Volusia County, FL; and Martin B. Main, associate professor and FMNP program leader, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.