Did you know that spring is peak mating season for horseshoe crabs?
Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) are encouraging people who are visiting Florida Beaches to report sighting with the FWC Reporter application.
The mating of Horseshoe crabs happens year-round, and you are most likely to see groups along the shore in March and April. When looking for mating pairs, keep an eye out for a smaller male on top of a larger female and will likely have the best luck spotting horseshoe crabs around high tide, within three days of a new or full moon. The next new moon is tonight, Wednesday, March 6th, and the full moon is Thursday, March 21.
These sighting reports provide important information about population distribution to the FWC. Horseshoe crabs have been around for about 450 million years, but little is known about Florida populations. Public sighting information helps FWC researchers target spawning beaches for the Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch Program, a citizen science initiative to collect scientifically accurate data throughout the state.
If you see a horseshoe crab on its back while you are at the beach, you can help it flip back over by gently picking it up (holding both sides of the shell), turning it over, and releasing it back into the water. Simple actions like this help conserve this species and the many other species that depend on it.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission asks everyone to report sightings through one of the following options.
- Go to com/Contact, then “Horseshoe Crab Nesting Activity” for the “Florida Horseshoe Crab Spawning Beach Survey” link.
- The FWC Reporter app is free to download on Apple or Android smartphones or tablets from the App Store and Google Play.
- You can also report findings via email at horseshoe@MyFWC.com or by phone at 866-252-9326.
Together we can all help the FWC learn more about the Horseshow Crab population on our Florida beaches by reporting any sightings.