Some Southern California beaches look like they have turned red this holiday weekend, thanks to thousands of brightly colored tuna crabs, also known as pelagic red crabs. They’re referred to as tuna crabs because they’ve become prey for several species of tuna, migratory fishes, giant squid and Humboldt squid, sea birds, turtles, whales and pinnipeds.
They’ve washed up on shore after making their way up the coast from Baja California, Mexico.
The video in this story is from Newport Beach near China Cove Beach.
Marine biologists say this happens during El Nino weather patterns, and the appearance to the crabs are signals of warmer water. It’s not clear why they strand, but once they do, they cannot make it back to the sea and perish, or they’re consumed by seabirds.
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