Artificially Bred Horseshoe Crab Returning to the Wild
Artificially Bred Horseshoe Crab Returning to the Wild 2008

First-ever Artificially Bred Horseshoe Crabs Released in Hong Kong


The population of horseshoe crab in Hong Kong has been shrinking drastically over the past 10 years. Since 2006, OPCFHK has been collaborating with the City University of Hong Kong on an artificial rearing programme on horseshoe crab. Working together, we hope to increase the population for future wild re-introduction, through refining the life support system under human care.

After two years’ effort, 30 artificially bred horseshoe crabs were tagged and released to the wild in September. In the coming 6 months, researchers will return to the mudflat every 2 weeks to check the conditions of the released animals. We believe these data could be used for horseshoe crab and habitat conservation management, and in the long run, turning horseshoe crabs into a protected species in Hong Kong.

Inserting a small chip for tracking and identification
Juvenile horseshoe crabs under human care Chip reading machine
Artificially bred (left) and wild (right) horseshoe crab, estimating to be 8th instars (having molted for 7 times). The former takes less than a year to breed, whilst in the wild, it takes four to five years.
Mr Timothy Ng, OPCFHK's Deputy Director and Dr. Paul Shin, Associate Professor, Dept of Biology & Chemistry, CityU, releasing horseshoe crabs to a mudflat.
Horseshoe crab hiding itself under the mudflat surface.