Pelagic Red Crabs
A rare sight in our area, pelagic red crabs (Pleuroncodes planipes) recently started showing up on Monterey Bay beaches. This photo, taken in our Great Tide Pool, gives just a glimpse of the millions of scarlet drifters that have journeyed our way due to warmer waters associated with this winter's El Niño.
Typically found off of Mexico and southern California, pelagic red crabs—also known as tuna crabs—are a favorite of tuna, whales, birds and turtles. While their "pelagic" description refers to their life in the open ocean, the largest and oldest crabs (about two years old) appear to be found only on the deep sea floor of the continental shelf.