The horseshoe crab blood harvest




This is the “innate immunity” of invertebrates that is not mediated by antibodies. It’s not “adaptive” (they don’t develop new immune responses to infection). Their blood reacts with Gram- bacteria (Staph a. and E. coli) to make clumps in an agglutination assay…


Could we farm them?


They have a fairly complex life cycle. Better for the whole world to protect their damn habitat.


“Blood Harvest” would make a great name for a death metal band. Especially if you spelled it “BlüdHarvest.”


Umlauts are by far the most metal punctuation.


I have visited at least one aquarium that had a tank of live horseshoe crabs. I had to be pulled away because they are so damn fascinating to watch. Anyway, it seems, based on that, that farming them might be possible. Now you’ve got me wondering, though, how the aquarium maintained their display stock.

And even if they could be farmed, or, for that matter, even if we could synthesize their blood, I’d still want their damn habitat protected.


Oh, the stories those horseshoe crabs must tell when they’re returned to the wild!

The crabs made regular appearances on Long Island Sound beaches, at least when I was a kid. There’d be long chains of them mounting each other, if that is the word for it.

Kid Wisdom held that their spike held deadly poison, and there was always a rumor about “a kid in my cousin’s school” (or what have you) having died horribly after stepping on a spike.


The spike is just so the little guys can turn over by sticking it in the sand as they arch their back at the carapace/tail section joint. I assume it’s pointed to give them traction in the mud to roll over. I think Indians may have used the points for fishing spears, or maybe that’s another wives tale.

Overall I have to rate the horseshoe crabs legs etc as being very high of creepiness, especially for kids. At least if you can claim they are venomous, nobody will dare you to handle one.


Doubly so, since they (or rather, their eggs) are a primary food source for Red Knots as they prepare for a long and arduous migration north. When you start unraveling one thread in the tapestry of nature, the whole fabric is damaged.


Crabs and snakes are two things I will leave a road to avoid (with no regard to speed, bystanders, trees, etc.) but I’ve always been fascinated by horseshoe crabs. Their ancient-ness is so immediately apparent (or maybe I’ve seen and enjoyed too many trilobite fossils) that to see one scuttling around on the beach is always a treat…when seen from afar, that is.
As for the second part of your comment, I was at a local lake last weekend, and two women pushing strollers were walking by with multiple kids in tow behind and around them. The area is rife with ducks and geese, and the women were telling the children not to get close to the birds because “they’ll bite you!” This struck me as silly and unnecessary as ducks will run away and geese will freakin fight back if they’re feeling threatened, but neither animal’s “bite” would do any damage. Why not let the kids see the animals for themselves? [Please don’t read this as an accusation, @PrestonSturges, it’s something I found curious and not altogether sensible.]


Many people are horribly afraid of possums, which are about as dangerous as turtles.


That depends on the turtle, I suppose, but I take it you’ve never been bitten by an animal with 52 teeth


Possum will crap all over you if you pick it up, if it doesn’t bite. It’ll crap all over you from a tree if you stand directly beneath it & say Boo.

Funny as hell too. Since it wasn’t me on either occasion.


Diacritics are not punctuation.


Either way, you have to admit they make band names look more badass.


You can bet that is already hanging on the door of someone’s lab.


I hear they’re playing the opening set for EndoToxxin this Saturday.


I’ve been bitten by nasty territorial geese, unprovoked. It hurts like a bastard. I’d think of warning my kid just so they know that geese aren’t all friendly inhabitants of disney films. The last thing I want to have to intervene in is a knock down drag out between a goose and a small primate of similar weight and strength.

Also, you don’t like crabs and snakes? Not from the part of a country that has scorpions (awesome and UV glow-y), vinegaroons (harmless and awesome), and sun spiders (pretty damn creepy) eh?


Everyone’s a diacritic.