05/11/2012 12:01 pm ET

Horseshoe Crab Mating Ritual Is The Oldest Beach Orgy

Right now, these prehistoric crabs are getting straight freak-nasty at a shore near you.

Yes, it's springtime, which means horseshoe crabs are once again hosting the longest-running beach party the world has ever known. It's a peculiar mating ritual in which tens of thousands of the arthropods take to beaches -- many of them on the East Coast of the United States -- and leave millions of fertilized eggs.

The Washington Post exposed these sex-crazed crabs, noting that a sharp decline in the Limulus polyphemus population has led environmentalists to follow the horseshoe crab on its epic orgy.


The ancient ritual involves several males latching onto a female -- who is 40-percent larger than her male counterparts -- until she burrows into the sand and drops her eggs. That's when the males pounce and fertilize. The orgy starts in spring, peaks during full and new moons of late May, and ends around mid-July, according to The Brooklyn Paper.

Nobody knows the love-making tradition better than Martin Shreibman, a biologist who the paper calls the "foremost expert/voyeur of horseshoe crab sexual behavior." He can't wait until springtime, when he counts males latching onto females.

“She rode into the bay with them,” Schreibman told The Brooklyn Paper while watching a freaky three-way. “He’s going to be smoking a cigarette any minute.”

Group sex, Schreibman says, is common among horseshoe crabs. The more males there are attempting to fertilize eggs, the better chance the species has at survival.

The eggs stay in the sand for about a month until the tide brings them out to sea.



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