State enlists public for horseshoe crab survey

Published On: Mar 12 2013 11:43:02 AM EDT
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Florida wildlife officials are looking for beaches where horseshoe crabs are mating.

Spring is the horseshoe crab mating season. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking the public to report any sightings of the crabs in action. The survey helps biologists identify horseshoe crab nesting beaches.

Wildlife officials say the crabs provide food for migrating birds and other animals. The crabs also have medical uses, including cancer research.

The commission says overharvesting and loss of habitat have contributed to declining horseshoe crab populations. Shoreline development also disrupts their mating habits.

The state first began surveying horseshoe crab mating sites in 2002. Since then, more than 2,600 reports have been filed from across Florida.