Florida wildlife officials want you to report horseshoe crab sightings during peak mating season

Photo Courtesy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) is asking the public to report any horseshoe crab sightings as it is peak mating season for the species.

While horseshoe crabs mate year-round, the FWC says that spring is the peak season to see them along the shore. To identify mating pairs, they say to look for a smaller male on top of a larger female. Beachgoers will likely have the best luck spotting them around high tide, within three days of a new or full moon. 

Citizens have reported horseshoe crab sightings to the FWC for reportedly 15 years now. This provides the commission with important information regarding population distribution. 

Horseshoe crabs have existed for about 450 million years, but their numbers have declined in recent decades due to overfishing and loss of habitat. 

The FWC advises that if you see a horseshoe crab on its back, gently pick it up while holding both sides of the shell, and release it back into the water. Simple actions like this help conserve the species and countless other species that depends on it. 

You can report sightings of horseshoe crabs through a survey provided on their website, via email at horseshoe@MyFWC.com, or by phone at 866-252-9326.