Sunday, June 14, 2015

Tuna Crabs Invade Ocean Beach

Heerman's Gulls, Larus heermannii, fighting over a Tuna crab stranded on the beach.

This pelagic red crab (Pleuroncodes planipes), also known as the tuna crab, is one of many tuna crabs washed ashore during the June 2015 El Nino event. Tuna crabs are one of the more numerous pelagic creatures populating the California current. As such, they they are a favored food of tuna, yellowtail, billfish, sea otters, whales, and sea birds. It is speculated that they wash ashore as part of a spawning event, with the larvae riding the current out into the central Pacific. As they grow larger, they descent into a deeper current with then returns them towards the coast of North and South America.

I searched for the tuna crabs that were still living, despite having been stranded on the beach, and set this little tuna crab and some of his tuna crab brothers & sisters back into the tide.  Futile?  Perhaps...

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