With its armored shell, ancient anatomy, and 350-million-year lineage, the horseshoe crab almost seems too inconspicuous to stir up controversy. Yet this humble creature is at the very center of a collision between three completely different species.
For many decades, humans have harvested the horseshoe crab for use as fishing bait. Since the 1970s, we have also used horseshoe crab blood for medical purposes. But we may have gone too far. Horseshoe crab numbers have declined significantly since the early 1990’s. And, naturally, so did their egg numbers.
This is especially important to a small shorebird that is a global traveler of the most impressive kind. The red knot makes one of the longest migrations of any animal — a journey that takes it from one end of the earth to the other. To accomplish this feat, it relies on the eggs of the horseshoe crab. Without these eggs, the red knot is in danger.
In the film Crash: A Tale of Two Species, filmmaker Allison Argo tells the story of nature’s amazing ability to create fragile connections among the most unexpected creatures, and of our potential as humans to destroy those connections — or restore them.
To order a copy of Crash: A Tale of Two Species, visit the NATURE Shop.
Online content for Crash: A Tale of Two Species was originally posted February 2008.
Production Credits Print
CRASH: A TALE OF TWO SPECIES
Written, Produced And Directed By
Online Editor & Colorist
MIX ONE STUDIOS
DR. MARK BOTTON
American Bird Conservancy
Carl N. Shuster, Jr.
Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey
Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife
Delaware State University
Endosafe, Charles River Laboratories
Government of Nunavut, Department of Environment
New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife
New Jersey Natural Lands Trust
University of Delaware
U.S. Geological Survey
JULIE SCHAPIRO THORMAN
Executive In Charge
Produced by Argo Films and Thirteen/WNET New York
This program was produced by Thirteen/WNET New York, which is solely responsible for its content.
© 2008 Educational Broadcasting Corporation
DANIEL B. GREENBERG
Director of Digital Strategy
Director of Production
DANIEL B. GREENBERG
Photos for "Why Save the Red Knot?" © Mark Peck. Other images from CRASH: A TALE OF TWO SPECIES.
Thirteen Online is a production of Thirteen/WNET New York's Kravis Multimedia Education Center in New York City. Dan Goldman, Executive Director, thirteen.org. Bob Adleman, Business Manager.