1. The Columbus crab (Planes minutus), of the genus Planes (family Grapsidae) spends its life rafting at the surface of the open ocean and is frequently found with sea turtles, though none had ever been documented on sea turtles in continental Africa or in the western Indian Ocean.
2. Researchers discovered Columbus crabs associated with olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) nesting and foraging/pre-nesting in Gabon, and with loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) foraging off the east coast of South Africa, as well as loggerheads nesting in Cape Verde and loggerheads foraging off Reunion.
3. Researchers will integrate these new findings with a review of all known records of Planes/sea turtle interactions in the Atlantic and Indian oceans and the Mediterranean Sea, to better understand the geographic distribution and ecological characteristics of such associations.
Study and Journal: "New records of Planes crabs associated with sea turtles in Africa and adjacent waters" from African Journal of Marine Science
WCS Co-Author(s): Pierre Agamboue , WCS Gabon Program ; Angela Formia , WCS Ocean Giants Program