X is for Xiphosura
The Xiphosura or Horseshoe crab are more closely related to spiders and scorpions than to crabs. They also look at home in archaeological museums as they do look like fossils, having evolved only very little since the Paleozoic Era many many moons ago.
The Javanese believe that a happy marriage is like that of the horsehoe crabs, believed to be a monogamous couple. In addition, horseshoe crabs also feature as part of the local seafood cuisine, both meat and eggs can be eaten.They are often boiled, sauteed, or grilled, and served with sambal dadak (chili condiment) or a spicy sour sauce.
In the medical industry, the horseshoe crab’s blood is used to test for bacterial contamination in various medical products. Some compounds in the horseshoe crab’s blood are able to “bind around” bacteria, fungi, or viruses, and thus clotting would occur if a tested product contains these contaminants.
Photo: gahetNA (National Archief)