I knit and crochet a lot, but by far, the most interesting thing I ever made was the Horseshoe Crab by Susan Burkhart/OohLookIt’saRabbit. (photo above)
In early 2012, my daughter was somewhat inexplicably obsessed with horseshoe crabs. I say somewhat inexplicably because my daughter loves all kinds of creatures and I’m not sure what triggers the fascination. This fascination leads us to the library and the internet. We’ve researched jaguars and other big cats, hyenas, anacondas, king cobras, seahorses, sea otters, fennec foxes, bats (especially fruit bats), raptors, and songbirds. One day, she became fascinated with horseshoe crabs and so, we started learning about them. We learned there are several different kinds of horseshoe crabs and that they are called living fossils because they have changed little since the triassic period 230 million years ago. They are mostly composed of a hard shell with a tail, and six pairs of legs. They are genetically related to arachnids and the females are larger than the males. The females lay eggs that are then fertilized by the males. The eggs are laid in a certain depth of water and are often called “egg purses.” These eggs are an important part of the diet of multiple species of animals, especially turtles and shore birds. Much of what we learned was from is beautifully illustrated and explained in Horseshoe Crabs and Shorebirds, The Story of a Food Web by Victoria Crenson and illustrated by Annie Cannon.
Eventually, we went to the New York Aquarium so that she could meet Limulus polyphemus, the local horseshoe crab species. We learned that our local Atlantic horseshoe crab was in peril. While they aren’t technically endangered, their number have decreased. Because horseshoe crabs and their eggs are an important part of the local food chain, this decrease negatively impacts the other species that rely on them as part of their diet, including the endangered Loggerhead turtle and the Red Knot. Measures have been taken by New Jersey and Delaware to try to stabilize the population of the Atlantic Horseshoe Crab and they appear to be helping. Here's a helpful resource for more information.
Thank you, Susan Burkhard. I appreciate the amount of work and detail you've put into your patterns. Susan Burkhard has an Etsy store called Oooh It’s A Rabbit where she sells wood toys, key chains, decor, jewelry, and many other incredible and detailed crochet patterns of amazing creatures! Go check her out!