In ancient Japan, it was said that when a samurai warrior fell in battle, he would be reborn a horseshoe crab and forever wander the deep seas. To this day, the kabutogani (horseshoe crab), is still revered in japanese culture, though, like other species of horseshoes around the world, they are under severe pressure from human activity. The most serious threat is encroachment and development of essential spawning habitat. Without intact tidal marshes, long sandy beaches and shallow waters for the young crabs to develop, their chances for survival are limited.
There is still time to save this ancient mariner and calls to action from scientists and conservation groups have led to numerous initiatives that hold promise.