Nature & Environment
Huge swarm of crabs filmed on the ocean floor
By T.K. Randall
April 13, 2016 · 16 comments
The crab swarm stretched as far as the eye could see. Image Credit: Jesus Pineda et al (2016), PeerJ
Researchers have recorded footage of thousands of small crabs moving en masse off the coast of Panama.
The remarkable scene was discovered quite by accident during an expedition to the Hannibal Seamount - a flat-topped undersea mountain known for its diverse animal and plant life.
Researchers exploring the region in a submersible were initially perplexed when they came across what looked like a vast sandstorm on the ocean floor. It wasn't until they moved in closer that they realized that it was actually a vast army of crabs kicking up the sediment as they went along.
After conducting an analysis of the crabs the team determined that these were a species known as Pleuroncodes planipes
which typically float up and down in the water eating plankton.
It isn't clear exactly what the crabs were doing or where they were going but the researchers believe that their mass gathering may have had some sort of social significance.
With up to 77 of the animals for every square meter of the sea floor, this vast army of crustaceans is certainly one of the most spectacular marine phenomena every caught on camera.
Source: Ars Technica
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