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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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Cape May Point Science Center Helps Track Horseshoe Crabs!

A horseshoe crab with a non-intrusive tracker, tagged with help from the American Littoral Society and Cellular Tracking Technologies.

From the Cape May Point Science Center

On May 29th, The Cape May Point Science Center joined partners, the American Littoral Society and Cellular Tracking Technologies out in the field to help put radio transmitters on horseshoe crabs. The team met at Reeds Beach on the Delaware Bay and deployed 14 tags, seven on males and seven on females, with hopes of better understanding horseshoe crab spawning activity.

The transmitters will send signals for three years, but can only be detected when the horseshoe crab is out of the water. This occurs during the spawning season, which takes place each year during the highest tides of May and June.

The signals from the transmitters will allow researchers to track where on the beach the crabs emerge, how often they come up to spawn and how long they spend on the beach during each spawning. This data will give our partners valuable insight into how horseshoe crabs use the beaches along the Delaware Bay and inform ways to protect them and by extension the myriad of birds, like red knots, that depend on their eggs as a food source for their northward migration.

In a lucky turn of events, the keen eyes of our President Bob Mullock, noticed a dead horseshoe crab on the beach outfitted with a US Fish and Wildlife button tag, which the American Littoral Society and other organizations have been placing on horseshoe crabs for decades. Bob reported the tag number to the USFWS and eagerly awaits information on the tag he found.

Don’t forget to bring your lunch for our first Third Thursday Lunchtime Lecture this Thursday June 20th from 12-1 when NJ Bluebird Society County Coordinator, Rae Griffiths presents Let’s Talk About Bluebirds. Come out and enjoy a light dessert on us! Grab your tickets at https://www.capemaypointsciencecenter.org/

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