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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Pelagic Red Crab update

Just a quick update about Pelagic Red Crabs (Pleuroncodes planipes).  We have continued to survey for them since the discovery of live crabs on Salmon Creek Beach on 24 January 2017.  We haven't found additional live animals, but on 4 February 2017, I found some claws and legs:

And a few of these:

This is a pellet made up of Pelagic Red Crab pieces.  (Many birds cough up pellets of indigestible prey parts.)

I'm not sure which species of bird ate these Pelagic Red Crabs, but my guess would be a gull.  Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus) and Western Gulls (Larus occidentalis) have been documented feeding on Pelagic Red Crabs in southern California during previous El Niño years (Stewart et al. 1984).

P.S.  I've written about pellets before for examples, see "Identify the Prey in the Pellet" on 25 November 2014, and "Rounded and flattened" on 2 November 2015.

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