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NewsTribune photo/Jeff Dankert A dead horseshoe crab is displayed on the hood of a car outside the News Tribune.
Did you know?
Horseshoe crabs are estimated to be at least 300 million years old and remain virtually unchanged from fossil remains. ... The largest population lives in Delaware Bay in New Jersey and Delaware. Their eggs support dwindling populations of shorebirds. Three Nobel Prizes have been awarded to scientists studying aspects of the horseshoe crab’s physiology. Sources: University of Delaware
This week’s strangest tip to the News Tribune came from a DePue man who claimed he found a stingray along Bureau Creek.
What Bradley Seibech really found was a horseshoe crab, demised. It likely was someone’s pet transplanted from a coastal area, said Ken Clodfelter, a fisheries biologist with Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
“I imagine someone brought it back with them or it was a pet that someone tired of,” Clodfelter said. “We also get aquarium fish species in our stream surveys.”
Seibech said he was helping a buddy hoist a pickup truck bed from a yard and spotted the crab underneath. The yard is near Big Bureau Creek, about three miles from the Illinois River, he said. Seibech thought it might have hitched a ride on a barge. Not impossible, but Clodfelter is sticking to his pet theory.
“We find a lot of things that people have as pets,” he said. “Somebody probably had it and let it loose.”
One of the most commonly-found fish transplants in Illinois is the pacu, Clodfelter said. This South American species is common to the aquarium industry.
“I had a dead shark below a bridge south of the Quad Cities last year,” Clodfelter said. “The shark was placed where you could see its dorsal fin sticking out. It turned out somebody had taken it from the anatomy lab at Monmouth College and placed it there.”
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