Saturday, May 04, 2002

Saving Delaware's Horseshoe Crabs

While statues of dinosaur's are being displayed in fancy colors and dress along the streets of Wilmington beginning this month, some really old residents of the area, older than the dinosaurs, are visiting the Delaware coast over the next few weeks.

Around for probably 350 million years, horseshoe crabs come to land around this time each year for their annual spawning. Now that the Delaware legislature has honored them with a nomination as Delaware's official marine animal, maybe Glenn Gauvry will get some help in his one man mission to flip over horseshoe crabs turned upside down and unable to upright themselves.

As the head of Delaware's Ecological Research and Development Group, his group publicizes the "just flip 'em" campaign. The article also makes mention of the importance of the horseshoe crab's copper-based blood to medical testing, their role in the ecosystem, and their use as bait.

If you find yourself on a Delaware beach over the next few weeks, and see one of these visitors from ancient times struggling to turn rightside up, you might want to lend a hand. They're not as fancy as Wilmington's dinosaurs, but they've been around a lot longer.