Horseshoe Crab Research at Felix Neck

Horseshoe Crabs Spawning

The Atlantic Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus) has been crawling ashore to mate on full moon nights for about 350 million years, and Mass Audubon is looking to ensure this ancient rite of spring continues.

In Massachusetts, horseshoe crabs are harvested to be used as bait for the eel and whelk fisheries, and their blood is the source of a protein used to test medical devices and injectable drugs for contamination.

Survey Project

In collaboration with the University of Rhode Island, the National Park Service, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, and others, Mass Audubon is conducting a long-term survey of spawning horseshoe crabs.

At Tashmoo Beach in Vineyard Haven, volunteers count the number of adult spawning horseshoe crabs on and around the new and full moons at high tide.

We Need Your Help!

Please volunteer today to help preserve these very special creatures. To sign up to volunteer for the surveys, please email us at [email protected] or call 508-627-4850.