Our Horseshoe Crab Painted Pins
These items are unique in the world of animal jewelry! Made in Washington and Idaho by a team of three U.S. artists, these high-quality pins or tie tacks are unique. Each exquisitely detailed piece is cast in pewter and painted by hand. The finish is extremely smooth and shiny, as you can see by the highlight from the scanner. Each pin is secured by two sturdy tacks on the back so it doesn't skew sideways or turn upside down, and the finished product is not only gorgeous, but satisfyingly substantial in weight. They can be used as lapel pins, hat pins, tie tacks, and more. These collectible animal pins are heirloom quality, and the details are so realistic, they are found in museum gift shops and bought by organizations in need of the perfect animal to represent their group. In fact, if you're interested in having the name of your organization put on an item, write to us for details. We can also get this design for you in pewter finish, bronze plate, silver plate, or 24-karat gold plate (ask about prices). You can find more fish and animals by the same artists listed on our Items by Series page.
This crab pin or tie tack measures 1-3/4 inches from nose to tail. It's also sculptured. It's about 1/4 inch deep near the top.
About Horseshoe Crabs
Horseshoe crabs date back to over 450 million years ago and are relatively unchanged from then, so they are considered living fossils. These shallow-water creatures are arthropods, as they fit the classic definition of being an invertebrate with an exoskeleton, a segmented body, and jointed appendages. They have nothing at all to do with crabs and instead are more related to arachnids (spiders, scorpions, etc.). These marine arthropods have suffered recent population declines due to over harvesting in the East Coast waters of the United States and habitat destruction in Japanese waters. It is also believed that the horseshoe crabs off the coast of Thailand may carry Tetrodotoxin which is a potent neurotoxin caused by a certain type of bacteria.
There are four remaining living species of horseshoe crab and they belong to the family Limulidae in the order Xiphosura. Of the four species, only one, the Atlantic horseshoe crab is found on the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico waters. The other three species are found in Asian waters. All horseshoe crabs use hemocyanin, which contains copper, to move oxygen through their bodies instead of hemoglobin. Because of that their blood is blue and very valuable to humans as explained later.
A hard carapace covers the entire body, and they have multiple eyes found near the mouth and at various points on top of the body. These eyes are able to detect various wavelengths in both the visual and ultraviolet ranges. Despite the number of eyes, their eyesight is thought to be poor. The mouth is nestled in between the five pairs of legs, which are designed for walking, swimming, and making sure food gets into the mouth. To accomplish that last task, all the pairs of legs, except for the last one, have a claw at the tip. Behind the legs are the book gills which allow the horseshoe crab to breathe. The long tail, which is straight and rigid, can be used to flip the horseshoe crab back over if necessary.
While they occasionally mate in very shallow waters on the sand, horseshoe crabs are usually found on the sandy ocean floor looking for worms and mollusks. That is when they are not spending their days very slowly swimming upside down.
Horseshoe crabs are vital to humans as they are used in fertilizer and as bait, primarily in eel fishing. The blue blood from them also contains LAL - Limulus Amebocyte Lysate - which basically clots around anything foreign to a horseshoe crab such as bacteria and viruses, among other things. Because of that ability the blue blood of horseshoe crabs is used by the pharmaceutical industry as a quality control check for vaccines and medicines that are injected into humans. The multimillion dollar business is a very big business and complicated, as explained on the PBS website. You can also find out more about horseshoe crabs and their vital role in nature at the Wildscreen Arkive website.
Horseshoe crab article by Kevin Tipple
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