Horseshoe crabs are marine and brackish water arthropods of the family Limulidae, suborder Xiphosurida, and order Xiphosura. Their popular name is a misnomer, as they are not true crabs, nor even crustaceans, as crabs are, but a different order of arthropod.
Horseshoe crab blood is bright blue. It contains important immune cells that are exceptionally sensitive to toxic bacteria. When those cells meet invading bacteria, they clot around it and protect the rest of the horseshoe crab's body from toxins.
Because of the copper present in hemocyanin, their blood is blue. ... Approximately 500,000 Limulus are harvested annually for this purpose. Bleeding may also prevent female horseshoe crabs from being able to spawn or decrease the number of eggs they are able to lay.
On the world market, a quart of horseshoe crab blood has a price tag of an estimated $15,000, leading to overall revenues from the LAL industry estimated at U.S. $50 million per year.
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