Locals and tourists were taken aback by thousands of tuna crabs that were washed ashore on the beaches of Orange County in California.
These tiny crustaceans, scientifically known as Pleuroncodes planipes, are orange-red and resemble small crawfish.
According to official reports, thousands of tiny crabs have ended up on the shorelines, reddening several beaches, including Huntington, south Laguna, Strands, San Clemente, Newport, Dana Point and Salt Creek.
The tuna crabs appeared on the shores on Sunday, said the witnesses.
The miniature crabs were first spotted by Donna Kalez, who is in charge of the Dana Wharf Sporfishing.
Kalez said that she was walking on the beach in Dana Point when she saw the invasion of tuna crabs.
According to a statement by Kalez, all the tuna crabs are alive and are in the surfline, swimming up.
She explained that once the tiny crabs get too close to the shore, they are stuck there because they are not strong enough to swim back into the ocean.
But Orange County is not the only region where tuna crabs have been washed ashore recently.
A massive number of these small crustaceans have been spotted on beaches in San Diego a few weeks back.
Some of them were seen on the shores of Orange County, but last weekend there were thousands of them.
Marine experts stated that tuna crabs have not been seen on the beaches of Orange County in decades.
Some believe the small crabs, which can grow up to three inches long, were drawn to this area from where they naturally live in Baja, California, because the waters are warmer in Orange County.
Tuna crabs are not the only sea creatures attracted by the warmer waters of Southern California.
Other marine species that have come to this region include tropical fish like the yellowtail tuna, the bluefin and the Velella.
Researchers have been trying to monitor the affected areas of the ocean using water maps that are capable of determining temperatures.
According to their findings, the warm patch goes from the Bering Sea and extends all the way to the waters of Southern California.
Image Source: timesunion