Tiny little red creatures have taken over California beaches from San Diego to Orange County.
Sometimes called red tuna crabs, other times called pelagic red crabs, they’ve been mysteriously washing up on the Southern California coastline for the past two weeks.
— Jim Grant (@SDjimgrant) June 14, 2015
— paula konoske (@oolzie) June 11, 2015
The crabs—which are anywhere from one- to three-inches in length—are native to the lower west coast of Baja California. They are not native to Orange County or San Diego, however, but may have ended up there as a result of unusually warm south coast currents in the Pacific Ocean.
According to the LA Times, the warm ocean waters could be due in part to El Nino weather patterns.
Linsey Sala, a museum scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, tells CNN, “Typically such strandings of these species in large numbers are due to warm water intrusions.”
Southern California residents are in awe of the tiny crustaceans, and have been posting videos of crab-covered beaches for the past few weeks.
— Jennifer Thang (@jenniferthang) June 16, 2015
It’s a sad sight to see this many cute little crabs washed ashore.
But let’s remember, this isn’t the only sea creature that washed up on the shore in the last few weeks. Check out this half-eaten dolphin, which was spotted on a beach in New Jersey last weekend.
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) June 16, 2015