A blanket of red covered the shoreline of San Diego on Wednesday. It was made up of bright red crabs washed ashore from Ocean Beach to La Jolla.
The hoards of red crustaceous were most probably pushed away from their natural habitat by warm water tides which the commonly known red tuna crabs are not accustomed to.
The brightly coloured crabs, scientifically named Pleuroncodes planipes or pelagic red crabs, have been washing along San Diego’s coastline repeatedly for the past three weeks according to San Diego residents and Linsey Sala.
Linsey Sala is the collection manager at the Pelagic Invertebrates Collection of the University of California. In her statement concerning the rather common event she explained that these occurrences are recurrent and yearly, when the habitats of the red tuna crabs are invaded by warm water tides, they tend to swim closer to the shore.
Their washing ashore coastline beaches does not pose a danger to the species. It’s rather an occasion for people to get accustomed to them and know that they’re not particularly fit for human consumption as they might be the carriers of toxins and bacteria from their natural habitats.
Usually, the red tuna crabs spend their lifetime in the Gulf of California, swimming in the water column of California Current and in Baja California.
Here, they feed on phytoplankton which is the reason why scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego are advising the population to not take the red tuna crabs home for cooking as they do carry toxins from the phytoplankton they ingest.
It is possible that the cohorts of red tuna crabs were pushed ashore due to the toxic algae spread that is affecting the Pacific Ocean waters from California to Washington. The toxic bloom is the largest reported off the U.S. western coast.
Linsey Sala could not confirm this hypothesis, but she said that it would be possible if the lobster look-alike red tuna crabs were carried to those parts of the ocean where the toxic algae bloom is taking place.
The red blanket that swiftly covered the San Diego coastline is comprised of red tuna crabs of one to three inches.
Some of the population washed ashore has already been driven back in the water by the waves washing the beaches.
Image Source: localtvwhnt.com