Horseshoe Crab spawning survey on Delaware Bay beaches

Since 1991, The Wetlands Institute has brought scientists and volunteers together to conduct surveys of horseshoe crabs spawning on New Jersey’s Delaware Bay beaches. These surveys take place during full and new moon phases during the months of May and June at the height of the spawning season. During this time, thousands of crabs crawl onto Delaware Bay beaches to lay their eggs in nests along the shoreline’s high tide line. These horseshoe crab spawning surveys are coordinated with other groups in New Jersey and Delaware so that they are standardized and take place on the same dates and tides. By taking repeated counts of horseshoe crabs spawning on Delaware Bay beaches, scientists are able to gain insight to the Delaware Bay’s horseshoe crab population status and trends.

Interested in Joining us for a Horseshoe Crab Spawning Survey?

We offer the opportunity for you to join Institute scientists on a 2 km walk along New Jersey’s Delaware Bay beaches to count horseshoe crabs. This activity lasts approximately 3 hours and is ideal for all age groups. Group sizes are limited, and advanced registration is required. Please take time to review our instructions below on how to sign up and what to expect for this event.

What to Expect

Prior to the survey date, you will receive an email (at the address provided when you registered) that provides the meeting time and directions to our survey start location on the Villas beach. Before the survey starts, you’ll learn about the natural history of horseshoe crabs, the Delaware Bay survey, and survey methodology. The survey will take place on the beach along the waterline. The survey will cover 1 km of beach (walked in both directions, so 2 km of walking) and will take approximately 3 hours start to finish. Volunteers should be prepared with:

✔ weather appropriate clothing

✔ closed toe shoes or knee boots (no flip flops!) that can get wet

✔ a flashlights or headlamp

✔ protection from biting insects is encouraged

For questions, please contact Meghan Kolk at