TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — Have you ever seen horseshoe crabs mating? No it’s not the start of a joke but a real question being asked to the public by Florida wildlife officials.

Spring is the horseshoe crab mating season. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking the public to report any sightings of the crabs in action. The survey helps biologists identify horseshoe crab nesting beaches.

Wildlife officials say the crabs provide food for migrating birds and other animals. The crabs also have medical uses, including cancer research.

The commission says overharvesting and loss of habitat have contributed to declining horseshoe crab populations. Shoreline development also disrupts their mating habits.

The state first began surveying horseshoe crab mating sites in 2002. Since then, more than 2,600 reports have been filed from across Florida.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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