Fifth Annual Long Island Natural History Conference






















Horseshoe Crabs: IUCN Red Listing and World Heritage Species Designation for a Global Conservation Icon in Dire Straits

John T. Tanacredi, Ph.D., Department of Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Studies, and Director of CERCOM, Molloy College
“Limulus in the Limelight” was published in 2001 as a result of several mini-symposia highlighting the work of Dr. Carl Schuster and the National Park Service. In 2007 with encouragement from Dr. Carl Schuster, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr. Mark Botton, and Dr. Koichi Sekiguchi, the first International Conference on the Biology and Conservation of Horseshoe Crabs was conducted with 45 scientists from 12 countries resulting in the first publication in 2009. Subsequently a second international meeting in 2011, held in Wetland Park, Hong Kong, in collaboration with Dr. Paul Shin and Dr. S. G. Cheung at City University Hong Kong, further revealed the increasing dilemma of conserving the 4 species of horseshoe carbs from the impacts of using them for bait; for blood extraction in the growing business of LAL (Limulus Amoebocite Lysate); and their egg source of protein for millions of migrating birds. In 2012 the IUCN; SSG committee, prompted by considerable interest in the international sale of Horseshoe Crab’s to the USA for bait, an investigation revealed  that in Indonesia, over 10,000 adult crabs were being harvested per day to bleed out for LAL/TAL production and then sacrificed for an exotic food demand. The IUCN Specialist Group for study of Horseshoe Crab’s established its goal to include all four species as Red Listed. In 2016, the SSG representatives (M. Botton, J. Mattei, P.Shin, and J. Tanacredi) prepared an e-poster and contributed a webpage on Horseshoe Crabs at the IUCN World Congress held in Hawaii. The Red List Report for Limulus prepared by the Red List Committee of the SSG for Horseshoe Crab chaired by D. Smith of USGS, was presented and accepted for detailed review by IUCN. This presentation outlines this global effort required and ultimately the actions necessary to protect Horseshoe Crab’s within their range and special emphasis is on Horseshoe Crab habitat on Long Island.

Dr. Tanacredi has published widely on conservation ecology, ecotoxicology and the horseshoe crab with over 55 peer reviewed scientific publications and five books. His most recent book, Conservation and Biology of Horseshoe Crabs, Springer, 2009 was one of the initiating factors in conducting the first Asian Horseshoe Crab Conference in Hong Kong in 2011. He continues his horseshoe crab (HSC) inventory of some 111 locations on Long Island, tracking HSC breeding conditions and habitat. Other research activities include captive breeding techniques for aquacultured HSC’s and Great South Bay shellfish restoration activities.

He was the founding member of the IUCN-SSG for Horseshoe Crabs, coordinator of the 1st International Conference on Horseshoe Crab Conservation and Biology (2007), a committee member of the “International Workshop on the Science and Conservation of Horseshoe Crabs” and the IUCN-SSG Workshops in Sasebo-City, Japan (June 2015), and was part of the formal IUCN-World Congress in Hawaii, (September, 2016).