Red pelagic crabs (<em>Pleuroncodes planipes</em>) washed up on Coral Street Beach in Pacific Grove, CA beginning October 7, 2015. This is an exceedingly unusual event for the Monterey area, as these crabs are normally offshore of Baja California, but warm waters have transported them north. These crabs haven't washed ashore in this area since 1982-1983, an El Nino year. NOAA is tracking a current El Nino that has contributed to the warm water plume, and it is assumed the two events are once again related. <em>Pleuroncodes</em> stranding events are rare occurrences in Monterey Bay and usually coincide with ENSO events. The species was first discovered in 1859 during a mass-stranding event in Monterey. Further stranding events in Monterey occurred later in 1959 and again in 1969. Dr. Steve Webster, senior marine biologist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, noted that when present, seagulls were feeding on so many crabs that they could not get airborne. Pleuroncodes are also a source of food for fishes, rays, and pinnipeds (seals and sea lions).
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Photo LibraryThe SIMoN photo library contains 5219 digital images of animals, habitats, locations, and issues of the Cordell Bank, Gulf of Farallones and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Use the search options below to find images of interest. You will be able to browse thumbnails of images then download a high resolution version. For any questions, contact Dr. Steve Lonhart by email (Steve.Lonhart at noaa.gov).
- Common names of organisms and locations (whale or Point Lobos)
- Issues and activities (fishing or coastal armoring)
Genus or Species
e.g., Sebastes, pyrifera