The spring moons soon will be drawing male and female horseshoe crabs up our beaches for an annual Mating Ritual and staff and volunteers from The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk will be on hand to greet them.
The Maritime Aquarium is seeking volunteers to help attach census tags to horseshoe crabs as they come out of the water to spawn at Calf Pasture Beach. It’s all part of a census of horseshoe crabs in Long Island Sound, being led by Dr. Jennifer Mattei of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, and The Maritime Aquarium is assisting with the census and tagging.
Dr. Mattei’s census is establishing a baseline crab population and will reveal horseshoe crab migrations and any changes in numbers or behaviors. The data is needed because horseshoe crab eggs are an important food source for migrating shorebirds. If the horseshoe crab population declined, that could mean fewer birds on our coastline.
Horseshoe crabs come up onto beaches on the nights of the full and new moons. That’s a tagging bonanza time for researchers, so extra volunteers are needed to help. To participate, volunteers should attend one of two training sessions at the Aquarium: at 7 p.m. on either Wed., May 8 or Sun., May 12. They’ll learn about the natural history of horseshoe crabs, what has been learned so far from the census work, and how to safely tag horseshoe crabs. Volunteers should be in 10’th grade or older. Younger children can assist if working with a parent, teacher or guardian.
Tues., June 2 at 11:00 PM to 2:00 AM for high tide census & tagging, and June 3 Low tide tagging – 5:00 AM to 8:00 AM
Tues. June 16 at 11:00 PM to 2:00 AM for high tide census & tagging, and June 17 low tide tagging – 5:00 AM to 8:00 AM
Wednesday, July 1 at 11:00 PM to 2:00 AM for high tide census & tagging, and July 2 low tide tagging – 5:00 AM to 8:00 AM
We will go rain or shine. Only thunder and lightning will cancel – in which case we will go the next night and following morning.
To sign up or for more details about the training sessions, call The Maritime Aquarium at (203) 852-0700, ext. 2304, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org