Beach goers from Orange County have been taken by surprise this week by the multitude of tiny tuna crabs that are washing up on the shores of some beaches.
There was a thick red rim on the shores of Dana Point, Newport Beach, San Clemente and Huntington Beach, that was observed this Sunday in Orange County. Most people were surprised to see these small crustaceans in such great numbers washed up on the shores that were usually clear.
The tuna crabs, or by their full name Pleuroncodes planieps, are small red crustaceans. They can grow to be up to 3 inches long and they feed on small unicellular organisms or zooplankton. However, they do pinch if they feel threatened, as many curious dogs found out.
While it is considered normal that a few of them end up on the shores every once in while, their presence in such impressive numbers is considered abnormal. The likeliest explanation is that the warm waters have made them travel north from the Baja Peninsula in Mexico which they normally inhabit.
Jason Young, the Orange County Lifeguards Chief and his staff have been talking to tourists about the small red crabs, teaching them about their biology. They have also explained to them that they should not touch the crabs, or take them away from the beach.
As a result, there were no reports of people being pinched by the small crabs, despite the fact that there was a surfing contest being held at the beach on Sunday.
“There’s enough that it looks like a big red blanket along the water line at Thousand Steps Beach and Three Arch Bay”, said Jason Young.
He also said that fortunately this phenomenon would not be seen again for a long time, so the tourists can breathe easily, as they will not have to get used to the presence of the small red crabs.
The saddest thing about this occurrence is the fact that there is basically nothing that the authorities can do for the tiny tuna crabs, and so, they will all die. They have been washed up on the shores of the Orange County beaches, but they are not strong enough to swim back, and so, they are stuck. Most of them have fallen pray to dogs and birds.
Hopefully, Jason Young is right and these small crustaceans will not end up stranded on Californian shores by the thousands anytime soon.
Image Source: chicago2