People might have not known the behind-the-scenes picture of sterilized syringes and medical equipment neatness. Many of us find it exciting to know Horseshoe Crabs benefit Humans and wildlife, how? This is what the article is going to help you know.
A Horseshoe Crab is an invertebrate animal that is considered to be the combination of a scorpion and a spider of the same kingdom of animals, Arthropoda.
The horseshoe crab is one of the oldest animals living on earth and to those who have become complete fossils. This living being that is supposed to be an older species than the dinosaur community contains blue blood, the precious blood.
The emergence of the Atlantic Horseshoe crabs at the beach can be seen in the spring season in the mid of May and June when Sea tides are at their peak.
This is how we can be indulged to see them together with a huge community at the Atlantic and Indian seashores. These crabs have rescued many lives across the globe. Its blue blood is responsible for saving humans’ lives.
Blue Blood’s Quirky Property
Since 1970, Medical experts have been using its blood to sterilize the medical equipment used during operation as its blood helps in identifying the bacteria–that can be deadly for human lives–on those apparatus.
Not only this, its blue blood is responsible for checking the devices that are installed within the human body to make sure it is free from bacteria, vaccination syringes and other equipment also go through this process.
According to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, in excess of 50 million of Atlantic horseshoe crabs are harvested every year for medical purposes. Its blood is included in the list of expensive fluids around the world. Its one Litre blood costs around $15,000, is not it a huge amount.
Scientists say, global warming is the main cause of letting this species extinct, as a favorable environment is important for letting every species increase in numbers.
A question aroused here, why these crabs having blood in blue color though, humans have red blood? Let’s make it clear, horseshoe crabs contain copper element while humans contain Iron in their blood in excess amount, that is the main reason crabs are having blue blood.
However, for scientists, its blue color of blood has no such importance, they say it contains such chemical (coagulant) in their blood that helps trap bacteria. Thus, they identify the presence of minute microbes.
A coagulant is a clotting agent in the blood, they can help detect the infectious particles and neutralizes it. Horseshoe crabs have greatly lowered the threat of conveying infection to humans via the medical apparatus.
How the Blood is Harvested
After capturing the crab, a hole is made on the way to heart, and 30% of its blood is sucked up and crabs are then left in the sea. The same process is repeated with other crabs.
However, in the range of 10% to 15% of the harvested crabs may get dead during the procedure and the rest of the female crabs face difficulties in proceeding their next breeds.
Only four kinds of crabs have been found so far. Four of these generations are gradually becoming extinct because of being used in medicinal processes and capturing it as a prey for the fishes in order to capture them.
Medical Experts are hopefully working to come up with the coagulant in the near future, that step will help avoid the harvesting of the crabs anymore.