2005 Student Research Conference:
18th Annual Student Research Conference

Science

Surface-Associated Predator Chemoatractant in Horseshoe Crab Eggs
Julie A. Anderson
Dr. George L. Shinn and Dr. Nancy Targett (University of Delaware), Faculty Mentors

The horseshoe crab, Limulus polyphemus, has major economic and ecological significance as it is a preferred bait in the eel and whelk fisheries. Research has focused on isolating and identifying the chemoattractant from horseshoe crabs with the expectation that such an attractant could be incorporated into a sustainable artificial bait. In this study, I examine the release of feeding cues from horseshoe crab eggs. Results from y-choice bioassays with Ilyanassa obsoleta indicate that while the chemoattractant is present in both fertilized and unfertilized L. polyphemus eggs, fertilized eggs are preferred. Further, assays in both the lab and field indicate the chemoattractant is present on the surface of the eggs and leaches off quickly. This suggests that it may be possible to replace the current horseshoe crab egg extraction method with a simpler rinse method that more effectively isolates and concentrates the chemoattractant.

Keywords: REU, horseshoe crab, chemoattractant

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 9-5
Location: VH 1010
Time: 9:15

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