Praise for Horseshoe Crab

Carl N. Shuster, Jr., adjunct professor of marine science at the College of William & Mary:

“Anthony Fredericks, in a folksy, story-within-a-story approach, has created an accurate and very readable introduction to Limulus polyphemus, the American horseshoe crab, and to some of the people associated with it. It is an informative and well-written book; I highly recommend it.”

Richard Ellis, research associate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the author of The Great Sperm Whale and twenty-four other books:

“With a hard, hoof-shaped jointed shell trailing a dangerous-looking spike tail, they bear no resemblance to any creatures you know, looking for all the world like something you would expect to find on the planet Zarkon. They move slowly over the sand like two-foot-long armored tanks, their means of locomotion hidden from view. They were here during the Triassic Period, when the earliest dinosaurs first appeared, and they’re still here. We know these ‘living fossils’ as horseshoe crabs (technically Limulus polyphemus), although they’re not crabs at all, but more closely related to scorpions and ticks. And if their uniqueness and astonishing longevity doesn’t impress you, consider this: the light-blue blood of Limulus contains sensitive chemicals that can be used by researchers to discover harmful endotoxins in human blood. Do you need another reason to read this fascinating, relevant, revealing, and endlessly enjoyable book by Anthony Fredericks?”

Peter Laufer, author of The Dangerous World of Butterflies:

“Consider an escape from the cacophony of the 24-hour news cycle and spend some time instead with one of Earth’s oldest creatures. In Horseshoe Crab, Anthony Fredericks takes readers on a quest to understand an important animal easy to overlook. His Biography of a Survivor is a reminder that a skillful storyteller can find a good tale anywhere, and it is a warning that we ignore the perils humankind creates for other animals at our own selfish risk.”

H. Jane Brockmann, professor of biology, University of Florida and co-author of The American Horseshoe Crab:

“In Horseshoe Crab: Biography of a Survivor, Anthony Fredericks takes us on a fascinating tour of horseshoe crabs and the people who study them. Through interviews and vivid descriptions of his experiences, Fredericks shares his journey to understand the complexities of horseshoe crab biology and the history of their exploitation. Along the way we learn a lot about earth history and the ancient origins of horseshoe crabs; about systematics and how animals acquire their names; about the visual system and the similarities between very different species; and about ecology and the relationships among organisms. We get to see how scientific knowledge is acquired, which is sometimes quite by accident. We discover that horseshoe crabs are important to medicine and to the survival of other species. We look in on how the species is managed, and how educators and scientists collaborate to teach the public about the value of this important species. Horseshoe crabs are a model for how committed citizens and scientists worldwide can work together to make a difference.”

Gary Kreamer, co-founder and partner in the Green Eggs & Sand (Horseshoe Crab/Shorebird Education) project:

“In the opening chapter of Horseshoe Crab: Biography of a Survivor, author Anthony Fredericks likens his philosophy for exploring the natural world to that of a four-year-old child—buzzing with questions, brimming with curiosity, and teeming with passion. Such qualities shine forth in Tony’s travelogue-esque accounting of the wonders of the horseshoe crab, one of Earth’s oldest and most unique, interesting, and beneficial animals. His journey to discover and distill all he can about this amazing animal takes Tony up and down the Atlantic coast, from the broad expanses of Delaware Bay beaches, where horseshoe crabs congregate each spring in incredible masses, to more remote stretches of west coast Florida. Along the way (in his telling, Tony manages to make you feel like you are indeed along for the ride), you’ll not only learn a lot of cool stuff about horseshoe crabs, but also meet an equally engaging cast of human characters who have devoted their life, talents, and remarkable passion to the study, interpretation, and conservation of this ancient mariner.

“As an environmental educator who has spent the better part of two decades in the school of horseshoe crab learning, I have had the good fortune of meeting many of the people in this book, and what impresses me most is how well Tony captures what makes them, as well as the horseshoe crab, special and worth knowing. So pack up your travel sack, roll up your pant legs, and bring on your best prepared-to-be-awed spirit of discovery. Meet the grand survivor through Tony’s eyes. I expect you’ll find the journey an enjoyable and enlightening one.”

William Sargent, director of the Coastlines Project in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and author of Crab Wars: A Tale of Horseshoe Crabs, Bioterrorism and Human Health:

“Every ten years or so the amazing story of how horseshoe crab blood saves millions of human lives changes, and has to be told all over again. This book takes readers on a whirlwind ride up and down the East Coast visiting the many people who are now working to protect this species that is so crucial to human health and the ecology of the East Coast of America.”

Richard Conniff, author of Spineless Wonders: Strange Tales from the Invertebrate World:

“An entertaining guide to a creature that is 445 million years old and still having sex on the beach.”

Anne Rudloe, Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory:

Horseshoe Crab: Biography of a Survivor is one of those rare natural history books that makes clear the deep interdependence and relationship of humans to the natural world in ways they would little dream of without reading the book. What does a a horseshoe crab have to do with your daily life? A whole lot! Read the book and you’ll find that you have relations you had never met before.”

Michael Oates, video documentarian/producer of Dollars on the Beach:

“As one who has documented the horseshoe crab/shorebird phenomenon and the associated resource management challenges since 1986, I feel this book is an enjoyable, informative, and well-balanced profile of the horseshoe crab resource, and the passionate characters who interact with it. For those who know little about this creature and its vital connections to migratory shorebirds and to human health, this is an accessible, playful introduction to an ancient animal that continues to amaze us.”

Maribeth Donovan Janke, Ph.D., Lonza Walkersville, Inc.:

“Fredericks takes the reader on his journey of discovery of this fascinating, unassuming creature. Fredericks is both student, as he learns about Limulus, and teacher, as he adds the historical, ecological, and scientific perspectives. You will be entertained and not even realize you are learning something. You will meet just a few of the horseshoe crab enthusiasts and learn how this ancient animal helps humanity. Compared to the 445 million years the horseshoe crab has survived, its interaction with humans has been a small blip, but that interaction has perhaps affected the crabs more than other events in time. After reading Fredericks’ book, you too will become a fan of the horseshoe crab. With our help, the horseshoe crab story can be never-ending.”

Katie Fallon, author of Cerulean Blues: A Personal Search for a Vanishing Songbird:

“In Horseshoe Crab: Biography of a Survivor, Anthony D. Fredericks explores the fascinating world of a creature older than the dinosaurs. This engaging and passionate account will show readers how their lives intersect with the lives of horseshoe crabs, from advanced medical procedures and vaccines to fertilizer and saline solution. Fredericks’ enthusiasm and admiration for the horseshoe crab is infectious; this entertaining, well-researched book is certain to garner more admirers for this ancient, underappreciated arthropod.”

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