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Take Part in Tagging Norwalk's Horseshoe Crabs

NORWALK, Conn. – Head out to Norwalk’s Calf Pasture Beach to take part in a 100-million-year-old mating ritual.

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk will be at the beach from May to July, conducting a census of horseshoe crabs as they come to the beach to spawn. The aquarium is asking for volunteers to help attach tags to the crabs as they come to the beach.

Dr. Jennifer Mattei of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield is leading the tagging at Calf Pasture Park so she can establish a baseline for the population in order to keep track of migrations and changes in population numbers.

Spawning occurs on the nights around the full and new moons and, because of the large number of crabs, the aquarium staff and Mattei need help to tag them all.

To participate, new volunteers should attend one of two training sessions at the aquarium at 7 p.m. on either Thursday, May 3, or Sunday, May 6.

They’ll learn about the natural history of horseshoe crabs, what has been learned so far from the census work and how to safely tag the critters. Volunteers should be in 10th grade or older. Younger children can assist if working with a parent, teacher or guardian.

Tagging sessions at Calf Pasture Beach will be held in evening and morning sessions:

  • May 20 at 11 p.m.
  • May 21 at 5:30 a.m.
  • June 4 at 11:15 p.m.
  • June 5 at 5 a.m.
  • June 19 at 11:30 p.m.
  • June 20 at 5 a.m.
  • July 2 at 10:15 p.m.
  • July 3 at 5 a.m.

Each participant should bring clothing and shoes that can get wet, drinking water and a snack, a headlamp or flashlight, pencils and insect repellent. Recommended are waders, hip boots, gardening or flooring kneepads and a sturdy bucket to sit on.

To sign up or for more details, call the Maritime Aquarium at 203-852-0700, ext. 2352, or email jschnierlein@maritimeaquarium.org .

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