April 27, 2009

Tale of Two Species

Last night, there was a fascinating documentary on PBS's "NATURE" about horseshoe crabs. I know that doesn't sound like it would be fascinating but I was riveted. I never thought much about horseshoe crabs when I saw them on their backs, washed up on the shore of Jones Beach. But here's some basic facts that grabbed me when I was flipping channels; horsehoe crab blood is worth $15,000 a quart to the biomedical industry, horsehoe crabs are 350 million years old, and the average female horsehoe crabs lays 80,000 eggs out of which 10 crabs grow to maturity.
The distressing part of their story, though, is that the horseshoe crabs are disappearing from the Delaware Bay at an alarming rate, threatening the lives of a rare species of bird that flies in from Chile to feast on the eggs. And that bird has a whole other story intertwined with the horseshoe crab which is just wild.
Anyway, bottom line here is that I'm not the world's biggest nature nut but this doc told a truly extraordinary story. Here's the link to watch it online directly at PBS's website. An educational hour of TV well spent.