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ImageRed pelagic crabs (Pleuroncodes planipes) 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. Pleuroncodes 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).


Pelagic red crab (Pleuroncodes planipes)

Location (General):

Pacific Grove

Site (Specific):

Coral Street Beach

Date taken:

October, 08 2015

Photo credit:

Chad King / NOAA MBNMS

Photo Location Map

      Latitude: 36.635463609499    Longitude: -121.92727144739

File name: 1444333044-0879.jpg