Horseshoe crabs disappearing off Odisha’s coast; scientists worried

Source: The post is based on the article “Horseshoe crabs disappearing off Odisha’s coast; scientists worried” published in The Hindu on 18th March 2023

What is the News?

Scientists have urged the Odisha government to come up with a robust protection mechanism for Horseshoe crabs before they become extinct due to destructive fishing practices.

What is Horseshoe crab?

Horse shoe crab
Source: The Hindu

Horseshoe crab is a marine arthropod that is often referred to as a living fossil because it has existed virtually unchanged for millions of years. 

Out of the four species of horseshoe crabs in the world, two are found in India.

India’s Wildlife Protection Act: Schedule IV

Significance: Horseshoe crabs play an important ecological role in their habitats, as they are scavengers that help to maintain the health of the marine ecosystem by consuming dead and decaying matter. 

Uses: They are valuable to biomedical research, as their blue blood contains a substance called Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL), which is used to test for bacterial contamination in medical equipment and vaccines.

– Horseshoe crab eggs are considered a delicacy in some parts of Asia and are used in traditional medicine.

Threats: Threats to horseshoe crabs include habitat loss and overharvesting. Beach developments hinder horseshoe crab breeding.

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