Mystery as thousands of crabs wash up on California beach

Mystery as thousands of crabs wash up on California beach

Tiny tuna crabs have been beaching themselves on Southern California shores in unprecedented numbers.

Marine Safety Lt. Michael Beuerlein told the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot that he had never seen an occurrence like it in his 34 years with the city.

The crustaceans, which measure one to three inches in length, are not harmful to humans, and there have been reports of some people taking buckets of the sea creatures home to try to cook them.

Mystery as thousands of crabs wash up on California beach
Visitor walking through the unusual sight on Newport Beach.
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Usually found inhabiting the sandy ocean floors off Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, most of the animals beached in California are either dead or dying.

“Once they are on the sand their life cycle has typically come to an end,” Marine Protection Officer Jeremy Frimond told the LA Times.

“However, some may still move slightly as their death is not instant once beached.”

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The sudden appearance of the crabs has puzzled many, with speculation it may be caused by a combination of warmth and changing weather patterns in the Pacific ocean.

Mr Frimond said the beached crabs were just part of nature.

“This might look like a bad day for the red crabs, but it’s a good day for shorebirds who rely on them to survive. It’s the ecosystem at work.”

This article was first published by The Telegraph on 19 Jun 2015.


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