Blue Blood

Sometimes when you are doing something as simple as walking on the beach there appears an unexpected opportunity to learn profound things about the world and its humblest inhabitants. My dear Uncle Al joined me on such a walk many years ago. On a sparsely populated area of the New Jersey shore we came upon dozens of small male and larger female horseshoe crabs mating in the warm May weather. The females were laying their eggs in the moist sand. My Uncle, who had been an observer of this process for years, explained that these pre-historic rituals dated to around 1/2 billion years ago adding to the paradox of this primitive arthropod known affectionately as a living fossil. He gently lifted one to show me the structure of the crab, carefully avoiding the tail, not because it could harm him, but rather because of the importance of the tail in enabling them to turn over. If the tail of the horseshoe crab is damaged, the little fella would not be able to maneuver and flip. The horseshoe crab, a misnomer, is not really a crab at all, but rather an arthropod and invertebrate with no spine.  Horseshoe crabs have fascinated me ever since that first encounter.

The eggs that survive grow and  molt many times until fully grown. The eggs that are eaten by shore birds are part of the ecological balance and are amazingly important to human quality and quantity of life. If fewer horseshoe crab eggs are available as a result of diminished populations, then the Red Knot birds in Delaware, New Jersey and South Carolina also end up on endangered lists. The significance of this is the effect on both declining horseshoe crabs and medical science. As it turns out the horseshoe crab provides a life saving liquid used in biotechnology that affects anyone who has ever been to the doctor or a hospital, which is just about all of us.

The liquid which at present only comes from the horseshoe crabs around the world,  has to be harvested in laboratories. The horseshoe crabs are taken from the beaches and brought to labs, turned on their sides and an instrument to draw the blood is attached near their hearts. One quart of this precious liquid is valued at fifteen thousand dollars. The crabs are then returned to the sea usually within the three day period because the gills need to remain moist. It is estimated that between 15-30% are so stressed they don’t survive. Looking at both perspectives or the middle path it becomes increasingly obvious that the labs are doing everything possible to insure the survival after returning them to the sea. The researchers are also working around the clock to produce a synthetic alternative to bleeding the crabs. The value of the liquid blue blood is so important to medical science because anyone receiving a routine injection at the doctors office or injectables for insulin, knee replacements or the routine use of hospital instruments is safer from the potential of life threatening infection thanks to our little horseshoe crab friends.

The horseshoe crab swims on its back for most of the year to migrate to sand or mud. In the spring, several males fertilize the female eggs and after many years they grow and molt and emerge almost in the same area where they were born. They have survived millions of years due to their protective blood stream which prevents the ocean bacteria from killing them off like 90% of other pre-historic creatures. The horseshoe crab, unlike vertebrates have no hemoglobin. They use hemocyanin to carry oxygen and due to copper in hemocyanin their blood is blue.

The technical process includes an understanding that Amebocytes from the blood are used to make Limulus Amoebocyte Lysate (LAL) which in turn is used to detect bacterial endotoxins in medicine. They detect E.coli, for example, on the medical instruments and devices mentioned earlier. The gram stains normally used can not detect and do not recognize endotoxins leaving medical technology no choice but to use this method.

In addition the careful handling of the horseshoe crab harvesting is set by law in the states of NJ, SC and Delaware and they help fund the research of a synthetic compound. Finally, it has been suggested that feeding the little guys a diet high in copper before release might help reduce the stress and the loss of 30% of their blood supply during the process. It is certainly worthy of research by the scientific community.

So, as we walk along the shores with our children and grandchildren it might be interesting to teach our future leaders the respect, compassion and value to human life that Limulus polyphemus, the “American” Horseshoe Crab provide to all of us.

~Nora D’Ecclesis


Dance of the Peacock Spider

Entwined together…

There is a small spider less than a centimeter found in Australia called the peacock. The male peacock spider dances for love by chasing the female with a series of abdominal thrusts and producing an ornately colorful fan off his tail. He moves his appendages in what looks like a dance of perhaps a creative traffic cop’s arm movement  to offer direction to drivers.

Several males dance for one female simultaneously and when they sense she lacks interest and obviously rejects them, they flee quickly to avoid being her lunch! The one lucky male who is accepted by the female is not much better off because after mating she devours him anyway.

The initial attraction is charged with all the attributes of the most profound infatuation in life, the in love at first sight moment. The twin flames are madly in love and the rest of the world is of little importance. Human dating is a dance, ritualistic by cultural norms and loaded with rejection, insecurity and yes, peacock strutting. It either produces moving into relationship and joy, or abandonment and rejection. Thankfully, human dating rituals don’t end in a New Jersey trip to the Meadowlands swamp.

Tick-Borne Press Release

New Book Aims to Help People Protect Themselves and Their Families from Tick-Borne Diseases

LOS ANGELES, CA – 07/11/2017 (PRESS RELEASE JET) — Experts are sounding the alarm bells about rising incidences of tick-borne diseases. Contracting a disease from a tick bite used to be an uncommon occurrence, but some factors are causing tick populations to grow which puts people and pets at a greater risk. “Tick-Borne” from renowned health and wellness author, Nora D’Ecclesis, is a recently released, comprehensive guide to the various diseases transmitted by ticks in the United States. Nora believes the best protection against disease is awareness.

There is no definitive answer as to why doctors are seeing more and more cases of tick-borne diseases in the United States. One theory is that the warming climate has allowed some species of tick to move further north where the environment has become more hospitable. This has increased human exposure to ticks. Another school of thought suggests that a lack of predators in some areas of the United States has allowed the population of animals like deer and mice to explode. Since ticks feed on these animals, their food source has become abundant, allowing them to grow and multiply. Whatever the case may be; protection and detection is essential.

Tick-borne diseases can be incredibly debilitating and, in some cases, fatal. Lyme disease is one of the most well-known tick-borne illnesses but it is not the only one that people should be aware of. Cases of Babesiosis have exploded; increasing over 2000% in recent years. Powassan virus is a devastating illness that can have long term effects on the central nervous system and even prove to be fatal in some cases. How to identify and protect against these diseases and more is all covered in Nora D’Ecclesis’ book, “Tick-Borne,” which is now available in paperback or digital on Amazon.


Nora D’Ecclesis is an accomplished writer and poet. Her #1 best-selling book “The Retro Budget Prescription” the top Kindle book downloads in the “Business/Self-Help” category for over a year. Nora graduated Kean University with post-graduate degrees in Administration and Education. 2017 has been an incredible year for Nora. In May she was a finalist in the International Book Awards for Spirituality/Eastern Religions. In June, Nora released her first novel, “Twin Flames,” with co-writer and #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, William R. Forstchen. When she isn’t writing, Nora can be found kayaking, hiking, Nordic skiing, and spending time with her family and dogs.

Media Contacts:

Company Name: Backyard Siblings, LLC
Full Name: Nora D’Ecclesis

Twin Flame now available

twin flame cover

We prepare for love with open hearts, great expectations and the naiveté of young teens. However, virtually all soul mates have experienced a point in the vagaries of the relationship where some disagreement or disappointment results in one of the partners threatening or abandoning the other partner. Disagreements escalate to fighting and feelings of despair creep in so that the partner will not listen to requests for compromise. Twin flame soul-mates are whole souls long before blending with a partner — they do not become whole as a result of joining together. The flames parallel each other in love, support, trust and sharing their lives in equanimity. They accept the individuality of the partner and provide a loving environment in which to carry on the joy of living together.

Click here to purchase Twin Flame