Feeding ecology and diet

Larval horseshoe crabs do not feed. Feeding begins after the first juvenile stage is attained. Horseshoe crabs do not have jaws, so they use their legs to grasp and crush prey. Horseshoe crabs scavenge on almost any food items they encounter in the sediment, such as mollusks and worms. They also scrape algae off rocks. Adults are eaten by opportunistic predators, including sharks, sea turtles, sea gulls, and terrestrial mammals. Most predation occurs on young horseshoe crabs, the larvae and eggs being eaten by fish. The eggs provide an important food source for many shorebirds during spring migration from South America to the Arctic.

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