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Thousands of tuna crabs wash up on beach. Here's why

Leeanna McLean
Digital Reporter

Sunday, May 15, 2016, 6:56 PM - Thousands of tiny tuna crabs washed ashore along the Orange County coastline in California earlier this week and marine experts believe the event may have be linked to El Niño.

The brightly coloured crustaceans measure up to 8 cm long and typically live offshore of Baja California in Mexico, however, warm waters likely tied to El Niño, can sometimes transport them north, according to NOAA. The crabs have washed up for several years along the Orange County coastline. Before that, they hadn't been seen in the area for decades.

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The crabs started swarming Imperial and Huntington beaches Wednesday.

"Just like last year, in June we had a washing of tuna crabs and they think it's correlated with El Niño," Imperial Beach lifeguard captain Robert Stabenow told CBS. "The warmer waters are pushing them up and when they hit the cold waters of San Diego, they die off."

Meanwhile, the shores of southern Chile have been inundated with dead whales, salmon, clams and other sea creatures due to Red Tide. While a natural reoccurring phenomenon, the recent outbreak in Chile is considered to be one of the country’s worst environmental crisis.


Related: Purple creatures are invading Florida beaches

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