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See also:     Blue Whales Eat Tuna Crabs

Pelagic red tuna crab, open ocean, Pleuroncodes planipes, copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #02247, all rights reserved worldwide. Pelagic red tuna crab, open ocean, Pleuroncodes planipes, copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #02248, all rights reserved worldwide. Pelagic red tuna crab, open ocean, Pleuroncodes planipes, copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #02249, all rights reserved worldwide.
Pelagic red tuna crab, open ocean, Pleuroncodes planipes, Image 02247 Pelagic red tuna crab, open ocean, Pleuroncodes planipes, Image 02248 Pelagic red tuna crab, open ocean, Pleuroncodes planipes, Image 02249
Pelagic tuna crabs (Pleuroncodes planipes) are normally found off the Pacific coast of Baja. When they are found in California it is a sure sign that southern water has moved north. They are one to three inches in length, and swim backward by flipping their tails and streamlining their legs. At times they settle to the ocean bottom and hide in holes in the sand. At other times they drift and swim with currents, moving up and down the water column in search of planktonic bits of food that they capture with appendage hairs. They are known to be a food source for the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus). They can congegrate in vast swarms, thick enough to color the ocean surface red and washing ashore in great drifts to be mistaken for baby lobsters. Such swarms are often in association with El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. Tuna crabs are also a source of food for fish, especially yellowtail and various tuna species, and for rays and pinnipeds as well. At times marine birds gorge so heavily on tuna crabs that they cannot fly!
Pelagic red tuna crabs, Coronado Islands, Pleuroncodes planipes, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #02353, all rights reserved worldwide. Pelagic red tuna crabs, washed ashore in tidepool, Pleuroncodes planipes, copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #06063, all rights reserved worldwide.
Pelagic red tuna crabs, Coronado Islands, Pleuroncodes planipes, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Image 02353 Pelagic red tuna crabs, washed ashore in tidepool, Pleuroncodes planipes, Image 06063
Pelagic red tuna crabs, washed ashore in tidepool, Pleuroncodes planipes, copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #06066, all rights reserved worldwide. Pelagic red tuna crabs, washed ashore to form dense piles on the beach, Pleuroncodes planipes, copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #06067, all rights reserved worldwide. Pelagic red tuna crabs, washed ashore to form dense piles on the beach, Pleuroncodes planipes, copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #06070, all rights reserved worldwide.
Pelagic red tuna crabs, washed ashore in tidepool, Pleuroncodes planipes, Image 06066 Pelagic red tuna crabs, washed ashore to form dense piles on the beach, Pleuroncodes planipes, Image 06067 Pelagic red tuna crabs, washed ashore to form dense piles on the beach, Pleuroncodes planipes, Image 06070
Pelagic red tuna crabs, washed ashore to form dense piles on the beach, Pleuroncodes planipes, copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #06077, all rights reserved worldwide. Pelagic red tuna crabs, washed ashore to form dense piles on the beach, Pleuroncodes planipes, copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #06087, all rights reserved worldwide. Pelagic red tuna crabs, washed ashore to form dense piles on the beach, Pleuroncodes planipes, copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #06084, all rights reserved worldwide.
Pelagic red tuna crabs, washed ashore to form dense piles on the beach, Pleuroncodes planipes, Image 06077 Pelagic red tuna crabs, washed ashore to form dense piles on the beach, Pleuroncodes planipes, Image 06087 Pelagic red tuna crabs, washed ashore to form dense piles on the beach, Pleuroncodes planipes, Image 06084