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Horseshoe Crabs



Horseshoe Crabs
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.99

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    dating, orientation, finding, converge, seabed, rudimentary, directly, uncertain, operculum, pincer, spike-like, ventral, reside, ideal, despite, underside
     content words:    United States


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Horseshoe Crabs   

1     Horseshoe crabs are awesome! At first glance, their three-piece armor suits make them look like knights ready for a fight. Their long, stiff, spike-like tails make us hesitant to pick them up with our bare hands. Well, despite their intimidating appearance, horseshoe crabs are actually harmless.
 
2     Horseshoe crabs got their name because the top part of their bodies looks like a horseshoe. Surprisingly, horseshoe crabs are actually not true crabs. They are more related to scorpions and spiders. There are four different species of horseshoe crabs in the world. One of them lives along the coastline of the eastern United States. The other three species reside along the seashores of Japan, Indonesia, and India.
 
3     Once we pass our initial discomfort of touching a horseshoe crab and flip it over, we notice that the horseshoe crab's mouth is at the center of its body where its legs converge. The horseshoe crab has a total of six pairs of legs, and each has a tiny pincer (claw) at the tip. The two front legs, also called "chelicerae", are used to pass food - clams and worms - into its mouth. The next four pairs of legs, nicknamed "walking legs", are ideal for walking and keeping a firm grip on its prey. The last two legs, or "pusher legs", are suitable for cleaning its gills on its abdomen and pushing the crab across sandy beaches or the seabed.

Paragraphs 4 to 7:
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