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Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus) by Tamara Clark


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Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus) by 

Horseshoe crabs belong to the phylum Arthropoda and are actually more closely related to spiders than other marine invertebrates. They are one of the most primitive groups of animals, surviving relatively unchanged for hundreds of millions of years, and their natural history is one fascinating chapter in the story of evolution.
These ancient creatures possess ten eyes which are especially useful during the full moon when they move onto the beach by the thousands to mate. Their sensory perception is the focus of much current research, as are several unique physiological qualities which make them a valuable subject to biomedical science. Until recently they were gathered en masse and used as fertilizer. These and other pressures have been detrimental to horseshoe crab populations. Numbers are dwindling rapidly and, if the decline continues, they will soon be listed as endangered.


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Tamara Clark is a natural science illustrator currently living in Hampshire, England, where she is enjoying illustrating the local flora and fauna. She recently relocated from Cape Cod, MA where she sold images of coastal species in galleries and markets and freelanced in illustration and design. Her clients include the Smithsonian Institution, the Encyclopedia of Life, the Marine Biological Laboratory, and a variety of publishers, websites and organizations.

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