8 young horseshoe crabs spotted at Hsinchu City's Siangshan Wetland

08/07/2022 06:26 PM
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Photo courtesy of Hsinchu City government
Photo courtesy of Hsinchu City government

Taipei, Aug. 7 (CNA) Eight young horseshoe crabs were spotted at Siangshan Wetland in a recent wild horseshoe crab field study held by the Hsinchu City Government and the Ocean Conservation Administration (OCA), the city said in a press release on Sunday.

The eight small horseshoe crabs spotted during the field study led by Jay Yang (楊明哲), a horseshoe crab conservation expert, marked a record for young horseshoe crabs discovered in a single day in the area, whose 1,768-hectare intertidal zone makes it the largest wetland in northern Taiwan.

The horseshoe crab, also known as king crab, is a living fossil whose appearance on earth can be dated back to hundreds of millions of years ago.

According to Yang, there are four kinds of horseshoe crab in the world, among which is the Chinese horseshoe crab (or the tri-spine horseshoe crab), which can be found in Taiwan and was listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2019.

Besides the offshore counties of Kinmen and Penghu, where young horseshoe crabs are more easily spotted, they are barely seen on Taiwan's main island, with rare sightings at Xiangshan Wetland, Chiayi County's Budai Township, and Tainan, Yang remarked.

The recently found horseshoe crabs might have been hatched five years ago, said Yang, attributing Siangshan Wetland's possible attraction for horseshoe crabs to its sandification and the food it provides.

Yang said the mud at the wetland was more sandified than it was in August last year, when it reached the middle of his calves compared to being only ankle-deep this year.

He said it might be due to the removal of the artificially planted mangrove forest there. Also, the wetland's rich seaweed and small aquatic animals provide food for the young horseshoe crabs, Yang added.

Photo courtesy of Hsinchu County government
Photo courtesy of Hsinchu County government

The Siangshan Wetland is the largest coastal wetland in northern Taiwan and a pivotal middle point of the East Asian-Australasian flyway, where migratory waterbirds can enjoy its rich resources to rest and restore their energy, according to acting Hsinchu Mayor Chen Chang-hsian (陳章賢) in the press release.

Urging members of the public not to enter the wetland so as not to cause harm to horseshoe crabs and other wetland creatures, the city government said those who do so can be fined NT$300,000 (US$10,064)-NT$1.5 million, based on the Wetland Conservative Act.

(By Lu Kang-chun and Ken Chao)

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