Orgies are nothing new on Plumb Beach, according to local lore. But, while residents may complain about the anonymous romps, group sex has been going on there for millions of years.
Horseshoe crabs use beaches like those in Jamaica Bay as their mating grounds because their location in a bay or cove protects them from surf. They come ashore in our area in May, during new and full moons and deposit thousands of eggs in the sand at once, before returning to the waters.
In the above video, Don Riepe, director of the Northeast Chapter of the American Littoral Society and the Jamaica Bay guardian, tells Sheepshead Bites about the anatomy of horseshoe crabs and the mating ritual.
Though it may look menacing, the horseshoe crab is harmless to humans. Its claws deliver only a gentle pinch and it’s tail is no stinger, just a means for righting itself when turned over on the beach. Still, it’s a tough little bugger, surviving several periods of mass extinction throughout Earth’s history. Early traces of the horseshoe crab family began popping up during the Paleozoic Era, 540 million years ago.
Video produced by Corinne Marro for Sheepshead Bites.