Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department



Life History and Behaviour

Life History and Behaviour

How do they reproduce?

[A molting horseshoe crab (Taiwan Academia Sinia, Institute of Zoology)]
A spawning horseshoe crab pair in a tank
(Taiwan Academia Sinia, Institute of Zoology)

[A horseshoe crab mating pair on a beach (by Gary Brewer)]
A horseshoe crab mating pair on a beach
(by Gary Brewer)

During the spawning season, both male and female horseshoe crabs crowd up on the beach at high tide. To attract a mate, the female releases a chemical called pheromone into the water. Upon finding a mate, the male will cling onto the female's body with his modified walking legs. Once the female has a male in tow, she slowly leads him to the edge of the water and digs nests in the sand to lay thousands of eggs. As she drags the male over the nests, he fertilizes the eggs. After spawning, the horseshoe crabs return to the sea.

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Last Review Date : 09 August 2013