Home > Exhibits > Horseshoe Crab Touch Exhibit

Vital role in healthcare

Horseshoe Crab Touch Exhibit

Horseshoe crabs have existed on Earth for over 20 million years

Guest will now be able to touch horseshoe crabs and learn about the vital role they play in human health care, ensuring that vaccines, intravenous drugs, and medical devices are free from bacterial contamination. The horseshoe crab’s blood cells release a clotting agent in the presence of toxins, allowing the blood to be used to test all injected drugs for humans and animals. Previously, live animals like rabbits and sheep, were used to test the sterility of injected drugs, which was often inefficient and unreliable. Scientists can collect blood from horseshoe crabs and release them back into the ocean with a high survival rate. They are tagged to ensure they are not overharvested for blood collection.

Horseshoe crabs are arthropods—their closest relatives are spiders and scorpions. They live primarily in warm shallow waters with soft, sandy seafloors, where they spend most of their time searching for mollusks or crustaceans to feed on.

Sponsor: Charles River