TAMPA, Fla. — Spring is almost upon us and in Florida, that translates to summertime! As you head to the beach, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is asking you to let them know if you see any horseshoe crabs.
While the crabs nest all year in Florida, FWC says their peak mating times take place in spring and fall. FWC says beachgoers are most likely to see mating groups along the shore in March and April during high tide and within a few days of a new or full moon.
Biologists want you to report sightings to help them learn more about the crabs.
"Reporting horseshoe crab sightings provides important information about habitat use, population distribution and environmental conditions for spawning to FWC marine biologists. Although horseshoe crabs have existed for more than 450 million years, scientists are still learning about Florida populations," a bulletin from FWC said.
According to FWC's website, horseshoe crabs aren't actually crabs. They're more closely related to spiders and other arachnids.
If you come across one of the crabs on its back, FWC says you can gently flip it back over by picking it up. Make sure you hold both sides of the shell. Do not pick it up by its tail, FWC says it can harm the animal.
To report a sighting you can:
- Visit MyFWC.com/HorseshoeCrabs and go to “Report Your Nesting Horseshoe Crab Sighting” to complete the survey
- Use the free the FWC Reporter app
- By email at Horseshoe@MyFWC.com
- By phone at 866-252-9326
Click here for more information on horseshoe crabs.