Salt Water Articles Inverts

Data sheet: Limulus Polyphemus


Scientific Name: Limulus Polyphemus
Common Name: Horseshoe
Taxonomic Classification:
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Merostomata
Order: Xiphosura
Suborder: Xiphosurida
Family: Limulidae
Genus: Limulus
Species: Polyphemus
Description: Since the Cambrian period there were the Xifosurides, a primitive marine group, which today we consider living fossils. The Horseshoe has a hard segmented horseshoe-shaped segmented carapace, with two simple, median and light-sensitive eyes as well as two side-facing eyes positioned laterally; The abdomen is wide and ends with a telson, that is, the long tail similar to a whip. The cephalothorax carries a pair of chelicers and five pairs of ambulacral paws. On the Opisthosoma or abdomen we find six pairs of book gills.
Coloration: Light brown with gray-green tones.
Behaviour:  The Horseshoe has 6 pairs of appendages, the three pairs of ambulacral paws to which the claws are attached are used to crush the food and bring it to the mouth, located in the center of the cephalothorax and without the jaws. The other two pairs are the chelicers and pincers, with different dimensions and functions. Finally it also has two larger legs, used to move on the sand and dig in the mud.
Sexual Dimorphism: Separated sexes, the male is usually smaller (about 20% less).
Habitat: The adult Hoeseshoe seems to prefer sea depths of about 30 meters deep to a maximum of about 200 meters.
Tips for Breeding: It is advised not to insert in the aquarium because it can not find enough nutrition to live. It prefers the tanks that have sandy backdrops.
Alimentation: They feed on the night of worms, small molluscs and other benthic seawater organisms.
Diffusion: The Horseshoe spread in North America, from Maine to Florida, and into the Gulf of Mexico. Finally they are also present in Japan.
Swimming ability: They swim by the abdominal plates and “walk” with ambulacral paws.
Difficulty: Very difficult.
Reproduction: Once sexual maturity is reached, the male Horseshoe moves on sandy beaches waiting for the females, for reproduction, in the spring, often coinciding with high tides during pleniluns. The females are approached by about 5 or 6 males and produce up to 80,000 eggs, laying them in 4-5 deep 15-20 cm holes dug into the sand during each tide. After each laying, the males, in turn, fertilize the eggs. Each nest contains about 4000 eggs, and one female lays about 20 in a year during the tide.
Risk of extinction: Vulnerable
Status iucn3.1 VU it.svg
Felice Panico
Acquariofilo dall'età di 10 anni con esperienza in acquariologia dolce,marina e salmastra, appassionato di immersioni subacquee e di microscopia.

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