Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus)

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Horseshoe Crab

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Atlantic Horseshoe Crab

Limulus polyphemus

681 Litres (180 US G.)

20.32-60.96 cm (8-24")


8.1 - 8.5

3 -26 °C (37.4-78.8°F)

10-15 °d

1:1 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Live Foods
Other (See article)

20-40 years

This animal is available captive bred

Alternative names

Atlantic Horseshoe Crab, Horsefoot Crab, King Crab, Pan Crab


Across the Atlantic coast, but occasionally stray ones can be found in Europe.


Males are 1/3 the size of females, which grow up to 2 feet.

Tank compatibility

Peaceful, but has a tendency to bulldoze objects, including invertebrates on the substrate. Keep that in mind when setting up the Environment to house them.


Omnivorous; will scavenge, or hunt sand dwelling organisms like mollusks, and worms. Will willingly eat any foods given to them.

Feeding regime


Environment Specifics

Best kept in a spacious environment for it to move around in.


Can knock over objects, as well as invertebrates, placed in the substrate. A spacious environment is ideal.


Large crab-like animal with a roughly horseshoe-shaped shell and a long, straight tail spine. The underside is equipped with numerous legs, with the male's hind legs modified for gripping onto females during mating.


  • When the crabs spawn, they congregate on the beach in masses. The males find a female, and ride on top of them until they reach a spot to lay eggs in. The eggs provide an important source of nourishment for seabirds, alligators, sea turtles, and fish.
  • This species is so adaptable, it can be found from the cold waters of Northern Canada to the tropical waters of Florida, the Caribbean, and the Yucatan peninsula.


External links