Atlantic horseshoe crab

The Atlantic horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) is known for being a blue-blooded prince. Do you know why?

Where to find them?

You can learn more about this species in one of the “Mysteries of the Sea” exhibition tanks.

General aspects

Although the crab may seem to have a strange design between gothic and futuristic, in reality, the Atlantic horseshoe crab is more closely related with scorpions and spiders than crabs. This is easily observed if we look at the ventral area of its body.
The blood of Atlantic horseshoe crabs is blue. Instead of haemoglobin, its blood has haemocyanin, which uses copper, not iron, to transport oxygen. Due to this, in contact with the air, its blood oxidises, taking on a blueish tone.

Which region do they inhabit?

Generally, this species lives on the east coast of North America.

Did you know...?

The scientific name of the Atlantic horseshoe crab references Polyphemus, which means “weird or strange”. Additionally, they have many eyes.