It turns out that horseshoe crabs are worth a lot of money. Specifically, there blood, which sells for $60,000 a gallon.
The reasons it’s worth so much is because it contains a special clotting agent, which is used to make Limulus amebocyte lysate or LAL.
After being approved for use in 1970, use of LAL skyrocketed and the medical industry started catching about 600,000 per year. The process to harvest the blood ends up killing a large portion of the captured crabs, putting them at risk of becoming endangered.
Researchers are hoping to create a synthetic compound so our lives and the lives of horseshoe crabs won’t be put at risk.