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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

In the shadow of El Niño

After work tonight we went for a short walk on Salmon Creek Beach.  Of particular note were some claws and legs of Pelagic Red Crabs (or Tuna Crabs), Pleuroncodes planipes:

I posted about Pelagic Red Crabs in October 2015 and February 2016.  I had heard they were observed in San Francisco this past fall, but we didn't see any in Bodega Bay at that time.  Checking iNaturalist tonight, there are recent records for Pacific Grove, Monterey, Pescadero, and Point Reyes (from November and December 2016).  

I wonder if more will appear on local beaches during the storm this coming weekend?  Time will tell...let me know if you find any!

P.S.  The appearance of Pelagic Red Crabs north of their normal range (off Baja California) is generally associated with El Niño conditions.  Although the 2015-2016 El Niño has ended, there can be El Niño "shadows" or "lags," with some warm-water species showing up after the event has officially ended.  (I'm curious about why/how that happens!)

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