Red tuna crabs wash up by thousands on California beaches

Red tuna crabs wash up by thousands on California beaches

Crawfish-like crabs, which look like tiny lobsters or crawfish, have been washing up on some Orange County beaches.

The Orange County Register reported that on Sunday these tiny, red tuna crabs have created a bright red rim along the shoreline of Dana Point, San Clemente, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach.

These species are also called Pleuroncodes planipes. They are 1 to 3-inch long crabs and are usually concentrated off the Baja California coast.

Linsey Sala, collection manager at University of California San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said these creatures are going farther north due to warm water that has remained off Southern California for the past year.

Sla said, "They have this ability to transition from the seafloor through the water column. They're subject to current and internal waves and tides, so they can be pushed along with different water masses. Typically, when we do see larger numbers of tuna crab, it's during warm water intrusions".

These red crabs were first spotted by fishermen in Southern Californian waters last year. Thousands washed up on San Diego beaches starting in mid-May.

Donna Kalez, general manager of Dana Wharf Sportfishing, said the creatures were spotted by boat captains for weeks in the water. Everyone is talking selfies with the red crabs washed ashore.

Kalez added that they are all still alive and swimming up. Once they get this close to shore, they can't go anywhere as they aren't strong enough to swim out.

The red tuna crabs aren't the ones that washed up in California due to warm waters. In the spring, Small bright blue jellyfish, covered California beaches as well.

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