Biologists need your help spotting mating horseshoe crabs - WFLA News Channel 8

Biologists need your help spotting mating horseshoe crabs

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Heading to the beach?  Local biologists have a job for you.  Look for  horseshoe crabs mating and document it.  According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the spawning horseshoe crab ritual has been taking place for millions of years during the spring in Florida.

The FWC says that the best time to spot mating horseshoe  crabs is around high tide,  just before, during or after a new or full moon.  Further, The conditions around the new moon tonight and the full moon on March 27 will create ideal opportunities to view the spawning behavior of horseshoe crabs.

Here's how you can spot mating horseshoe crabs.  The FWC says mating crabs "pair up," with the smaller male on top of the larger female. Other male crabs may also be present around the couple. Beachgoers lucky enough to spot horseshoe crabs are asked to note how many they see and whether the horseshoe crabs are mating. If possible, the observer should also count how many horseshoe crabs are mating adults and how many are juveniles (4 inches wide or smaller).

If you want to help biologists then document the date, time, location, habitat type and environmental conditions such as tides and moon phase.

The FWC asks the public to report sightings through one of several options. Go to MyFWC.com/Contact and click on the "Submit a Horseshoe Crab Survey" link, then "Florida Horseshoe Crab Spawning Beach Survey." You can also report findings via email at horseshoe@MyFWC.com or by phone at 866-252-9326.

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