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The American Horseshoe Crab

The American Horseshoe Crab

Edited by Carl N. Shuster, Jr., H. Jane Brockmann, and Robert B. Barlow

ISBN 9780674011595

Publication date: 03/15/2004

The American horseshoe crab that comes ashore on the East Coast in vast numbers to mate and nest is much the same creature that haunted the coast before the time of the dinosaurs. It is among the world's most intensely studied marine invertebrates, critical to our understanding of many groups of organisms, both modern and extinct, and crucial to the ecology of large estuaries such as the Delaware Bay. Some stocks of this great survivor, whose ancestors made it through the mass extinction some 286 million years ago, have been severely depleted today because of overfishing and habitat destruction.

Carl N. Shuster, Jr., H. Jane Brockmann, and Robert B. Barlow are at the forefront of research on Limulus polyphemus, and in this book they bring together twenty scientists who have worked on all aspects of horseshoe crab biology to compile the first fully detailed, comprehensive view of the species. An indispensable resource, the volume describes the horseshoe crab's behavior, natural history, and ecology; its anatomy, physiology, distribution, development, and life cycle; the puzzle of its immune system; and its present management and future conservation.


  • Overall, The American Horseshoe Crab is a fine compendium of information, one I will refer to frequently. The volume also provides an essential tool for anyone involved with developing the regulations that will be required to protect this intriguing species in perpetuity.

    —Mark S. Garland, Science


  • Carl N. Shuster, Jr., is Adjunct Professor of Marine Science, College of William and Mary.
  • H. Jane Brockmann is Professor of Zoology, University of Florida, Gainesville.
  • Robert B. Barlow is Professor of Ophthalmology at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Book Details

  • 472 pages
  • 8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press