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El Niño brings red crabs to California; let’s hope it brings RAIN!

Monterey Bay, California

One of the coolest things that was “news to ME!” from the “Big Blue Live” PBS/BBC show from the Monterey Bay Aquarium the past two nights (tonight is the last night) was the washing up of pelagic (open ocean) red crabs (tuna crabs; Pleuroncodes planipes) on southern California beaches (There are June photos from Newport Beach.) I had never HEARD of such a thing, and NO WONDER! The unusually warm Pacific Ocean is bringing them up from their natural habitat off the coast of Mexico!

The article links to, and embeds, a underwater video of the tiny red crabs taken in the Channel Islands by Jeff Harris of the National Marine Mammal Laboratory.

Channel Islands National Park said of the red crabs:

“These crabs are usually found in Mexico,” the park said in the Facebook post. “However, during warmer water periods like El Niño they venture up to the Channel Islands.”

The unusually warm Pacific Ocean is bringing great changes in wildlife, as pointed out by the “Big Blue Live” special!

Great white sharks are breaching more than ever, flying fish were spotted near Monterey for the first time in almost 20 years, and giant purple sea hares were found in the Bay Area. provides another link about THIS El Niño and wildlife.

Federal meteorologists recently said this year’s El Niño event is the second-strongest on record for this time of year. Whether that will mean heavy rains this fall is up for debate. But the wildlife is reacting to the warmer waters, and the results can be beautiful.

Try to catch the last night of Big Blue Live, at 8 pm Pacific Time tonight. I DID warn you that it was coming!

-Bill at

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