Feeding Ecology of Horseshoe Crabs on the Continental Shelf, New Jersey to North Carolina
Abstract:Horseshoe crabs, Limulus polyphemus (L.), collected at 11 to 39 m depths along the continental shelf from North Carolina to New Jersey, fed primarily on bivalve molluscs. Shell lengths of prey ranged from 1 to 20 mm. Immature and mature crabs of both sexes had qualitatively and quantitatively similar diets. Food consumption was higher among individuals collected in September than among those collected in March or July, and food consumption was inversely related to depth. Horseshoe crabs attain their maximum densities on the continental shelf in relatively shallow water (<30 m) between southern New Jersey and Virginia, and may be among the more significant predators of bivalves in this region.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1989-11-01
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