Would people embrace the horseshoe crab more if it was colorful?
In the world of the seas and oceans, colorful animals have two main purposes. The first is that color is camouflage and the second is that color warns predators, humans included, of potential toxins and danger.
(Color for land animals also includes mating.)
Horseshoe crabs don’t use color for mating. Their mating consists of the scent of the female.
Their color is mainly for camouflage on the ocean bottom and the beaches they come up onto to for the females to lay their eggs.
The first time I had a really good look at a mating pair they were highly camouflaged. I could see the sand along the bottom being stirred up and then what looked like barnacles moving. When my eyes adjusted, I could then see the larger female with the smaller male attached to her. Both crabs had barnacles on their shells.
This is common in nature where the female is larger so they have the capacity to hold and carry eggs. The example of barnacles on their shells is a symbiotic relationship. Two animals exist together but neither, nor a group if relevant, is harmed by the relationship. Barnacle eggs attach to horseshoe crab shells and hitch a ride and grow to maturity. The crabs are not harmed.
If you could give these creatures a color, what would it be?