International Horseshoe Crab Day UPSC

International Horseshoe Crab Day | UPSC


International Horseshoe Crab Day: Species under grave threat in Odisha

      WHY IN NEWS:

Hundreds of the crabs have been killed in Odisha each year to supply their meat and shells to Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and other states

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:IUCN : Conservation of biodiversity


For PRELIMS it is important to understand the significance of this day and most important Beibu Gulf Declaration ! Just make a note right now .

For MAINS keep an eye on why and how these endangered species are loosing habitat .


Horseshoe crabs face an uncertain future in Odisha, their largest habitat in India, even as the world gets ready to celebrate the first-ever ‘International Horseshoe Crab Day’ on June 20, 2020.  

International Horseshoe Crab Day UPSC IAS

Horseshoe crab flesh is believed to have aphrodisiac properties. Photo: Ashis Senapati Horseshoe crab flesh is believed to have aphrodisiac properties.


  • Horseshoe crab is regarded as a marine ‘living fossil’.
  • The horseshoe crab is a marine chelicerate arthropod living in shallow coastal waters on soft sandy or muddy bottom .


  • AMERICAN HORSESHOE CRAB(Limulus polyphemus) along the eastern coast of USA and in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • INDO-PACIFIC SPECIES, the tri-spine horseshoe crab (Tachypleus tridentatus).
  • COASTAL HORSESHOE CRAB :  (Tachypleus gigas) .
  • MANGROVE HORSESHOE CRAB(Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda) in coastal waters of India, southeast Asia, China and Japan.


  • The horseshoe crab is a critical link to coastal biodiversity.
  • One of their ecological functions is to lay millions of eggs on beaches to feed shorebirds, fish and other wildlife.
  • Its large hard shell serves as microhabitat for many other species such as sponges, mud crabs, mussels and snails.
  • Unfortunately, this ecological link can be broken in areas where population density is low.


  • Over-harvesting for use as food.
  • Hunting and biomedical testing.
  • Habitat loss.
  • Shoreline alterations that are engineered to protect beaches from erosion and sea level rise.

American horseshoe crab is listed as Vulnerable to extinction and the tri-spine horseshoe crab is classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 


  Horseshoe crab blood is blue in color, and its unique response to bacterial toxins was discovered over 50 years ago.

  • The blood of horseshoe crabs is used and harvested in high quantities today to test that a wide range of medical products are not contaminated.
  • “It is believed that consumption of horseshoe crab meat can lengthen a person’s lifespan.


The  horseshoe crab was included on September 9, 2009 in the Schedule IV of the Wild (Life) Protection Act, 1972, under which, the catching and killing of a horseshoe crab is an offence.

International Horseshoe Crab Day IUCN STATUS



  In June 2019, during the IUCN SSC Horseshoe Crab Specialist Group international  endorsed the Beibu Gulf Declaration on Global Horseshoe Crab Conservation.


  • To call for strengthening of policy making and better enforcement,
  • More scientific investigations and research, sustainable management of horseshoe crabs,
  • Restoring natural populations and protecting their critical habitats,
  • Promoting public and multi-party participation in horseshoe crab conservation.

  IUCN SSC Horseshoe Crab Specialist Group have designated 20th June every year as the International Horseshoe Crab Day to showcase the collective conservation efforts for the four horseshoe crab species.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

“The aim behind the day is to generate greater awareness for these ancient creatures and help in their conservation,”.

     SOURCES:DownToEarth | International Horseshoe Crab Day | UPSC

DISCOVER MORE : Important IUCN Species for Prelims 2020

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