Other Common Names
pelagic red crab or tuna crab (1)
Explanation of Names
Pleuroncodes planipes Stimpson, 1860
(L). 'flat feet' (2)
pelagic red crab - as the planktonic larvae are swept by the California Current thousands of miles out to sea
tuna crab - as they are favored by various tuna (1)
Larvae 2.6-7.2 mm; adults to 32 mm carapace length
occasional in s. CA, s. to Chile. most common along the southern Baja California peninsula (1)
adults live in shallow water, unusual among members of its family
during warming events, especially stronger El Nińo’s, they can be abundant off s. to c. CA
an important food item for many species of birds, marine mammals, sea turtles and fish
as the most abundant species of micronekton in the California Current, large numbers occasionally wash up on beaches
An onshore wind and a receding tide hasten and intensify the stranding. The number of crabs involved in the strandings may be very large; one report (by George E. Lindsay, Museum of Natural History at San Diego) from the Gulf of California notes the crabs occurring in windrows up to 3 ft deep and 10 ft wide over a stretch of beach 3-4 miles long. (1)
very close to P. monodon, the only other species in the genus
Aurioles-Gamboa, D. (1992) Inshore-offshore movements of the pelagic red crabs Pleuroncodes planipes (Decapoda, Anomura, Galatheidae) off the Pacific coast of Baja California, Mexico. Crustaceana 62: 71–84.
Aurioles-Gamboa, D., M.I. Castro-González, & R. Pérez-Flores. (1994) Annual mass strandings of pelagic red crabs, Pleuroncodes planipes
(Crustacea: Anomura: Galatheidae), in Bahia Magdalena, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Fishery Bulletin 92(2): 464-470. (Full PDF
Boyd, C.M. (1960) The larval stages of Pleuroncodes planipes Stimpson (Crustacea, Decapoda, Galatheidae). Biological Bulletin 118: 17-30.
Boyd, C.M. (1962) The biology of a marine decapod crustacean, Pleuroncodes planipes Stimpson 1860. Ph.D. thesis, Univ. Calif. San Diego. 123 pp.
Boyd, C.M. (1967) The benthic and pelagic habitats of the red crab, Pleuroncodes planipes
. Pacific Science 21(3): 394-403. (1)
Boyd, C.M. & M.W. Johnson. (1963) Variations in the larval stages of a decapod crustacean, Pleuroncodes planipes Stimpson (Galatheidae). Biological Bulletin 124(3): 141-152.
Glynn, P.W. (1961) The first recorded mass stranding of pelagic red crabs, Pleuroncodes planipes, at Monterey Bay, California, since 1859, with notes on their biology. Calif. Fish and Game 47(1): 97-101.
Kato, S. (1974) Development of the pelagic red crab (Galatheidae, Pleuroncodes planipes) fishery in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Marine Fisheries Review 36(10): 1-9.
Longhurst, A.R. (1967) The pelagic phase of Pleuroncodes planipes
Stimpson (Crustacea, Galatheidae) in the California Current. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations Reports 11: 142-154. (Full PDF
Longhurst, A. (2004) The answer must be red crabs, of course. Oceanography 17: 6–7.
Longhurst, A.R., C.J. Lorenzen, and W.H. Thomas. (1987) The role of pelagic red crabs in the grazing of phytoplankton off Baja California. Ecology 48: 190-200.
Longhurst, A.R., & D.L.R. Seibert. (1971) Breeding in an oceanic population of Pleuroncodes planipes (Crustacea, Galatheidae). Pacific Science 25: 426–428.
Robinson. C., V. Anislado, & A. Lopez. (2004) The pelagic red crab (Pleuroncodes planipes) related to active upwelling sites in the California Current off the west coast of Baja California. Deep-Sea Res. II 51: 753–766.
Stewart, B.S., P.M. Yochem, and R.W. Schreiber. (1984) Pelagic red crabs as food for gulls: a possible benefit of El Nino. The Condor 86: 341-342.
Stimpson, W. (1860) Notes on North American Crustacea, No. 1. Annals of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York 7(1): 49–93.