In April 2015, a research team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) captured absolutely mesmerizing, terrifying and incredibly rare footage of thousands of red crabs swarming just above the ocean floor of Hannibal Bank Seamount near the coast of Panama. The team had not been looking for the crabs specifically, but instead the entire ecosystem of the area. The swarm, however, was a nice surprise according to Jesús Pineda, a biologist and chief scientist on the team.
When we dove down in the submarine, we noticed the water became murkier as we got closer to the bottom. There was this turbid layer, and you couldn’t see a thing beyond it. We just saw this cloud but had no idea what was causing it. As we slowly moved down to the bottom of the seafloor, all of the sudden we saw these things,” he continued. “At first, we thought they were biogenic rocks or structures. Once we saw them moving—swarming like insects—we couldn’t believe it.