Red Tuna Crabs

Tuna Crabs, SD Creature Project

Remember to Red Crabs or Red Tuna Crabs?

Tuna Crabs, San Diego Creature Project
Tuna Crabs

Every so often, maybe every couple of years, the beaches are covered with these small bright red crabs. They’re called Red Tuna Crabs, although they’re not tuna or crabs. These crustaceans look like crayfish, but they are a type of squat lobster—not a true crab. 

Ryan, our Vizsla dog, had a lot of fun when the crabs arrived at the Ocean Beach, Dog Beach here in San Diego. Ryan also happens to be red. That was when he started his new hobby… fishing! He didn’t eat anything he caught. He’d track them down, pick them up gently in his mouth (Vizslas have a soft mouth), and then put them back.

The OB Dog Beach is a wonderful place where dogs are allowed to run and play off leash. If you have a well behaved dog or a puppy that needs socialization, this is a great place to explore and learn.

Tuna crabs primarily inhabit, or live in the west coast of Baja California, Gulf of California, and the California Current. These creatures are unique in that it can live their whole life cycle (from larvae to adult) in the water column (surface to seafloor).

The omnivorous crustaceans eat phytoplankton, or really tiny plants, in open water, and larger adults crawl along the sea floor. Pelagic red crabs are not safe for humans to eat because they may ingest toxin-producing plankton, but lots of larger ocean creatures love to snack on them. 

Learn more about Red Tuna Crabs at:


The San Diego Creature Project is a children’s television program created by kids, for kids. Follow three brothers, their cousin, and their dog Ryan as they solve creature mysteries with science and learn about life in San Diego and Southern California.

#crustacean #oceanlife #beach

San Diego Creature Project