Lifecycle of the Horseshoe Crab: An Overview
Scroll over the timeline below for a quick look at the horseshoe crabs's life stages:
Juvenile horseshoe crabs generally spend their first and second summer on the intertidal flats feeding before the daytime low tide and burrowing in the sand for the rest of the day. As they grow, young crabs move away from the shoal water “nursery” into deeper water.
For the horseshoe crab to grow larger, it must molt and shed its shell. By the end of its first year, the crab will have molted several times, but will still be small about 1/2" wide. By year three or four, it will shed its shell only once a year, sometime during July or August.