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Nature & Environment

Huge swarm of crabs filmed on the ocean floor

By T.K. Randall
April 13, 2016 · Comment icon 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 | Comments (16)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by phantulum 8 years ago
mmmm old bay and butter
Comment icon #8 Posted by Leonardo 8 years ago
It's probably a mass migration fleeing from the rise of Cthulhu.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Aitrui 8 years ago
Panama? Must be all the 'Mr' Krab's escaping with their mooney!
Comment icon #10 Posted by AustinHinton 8 years ago
This is recorded for other crab species, they gather in masse to molt and mate.
Comment icon #11 Posted by DieChecker 8 years ago
I saw this yesterday and shared it with my 4 and 8 year olds and they thought it was super cool and asked like 15 minutes of questions. I thought it was super cool also. Maybe they are mass feeding on something? I also noticed that some of them appear to be crabs and some appear more like lobsters. Some clearly swim around like lobsters.
Comment icon #12 Posted by BeastieRunner 8 years ago
Creepy yet cool. Yes, yes it is.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Wolffheart 8 years ago
Holy Crab, thats a lot of them. are those the ones they catch to eat /proces for food?
Comment icon #14 Posted by Hawkin 8 years ago
A crab fisherman's mother lode.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Ugly1 8 years ago
Right after this sighting we had the massive quakes nearby in Ecuador and also the large EQ in Panama.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Aftermath 8 years ago
Right after this sighting we had the massive quakes nearby in Ecuador and also the large EQ in Panama. A lot to ponder... very interesting.

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