El Niño and the red crabs stranded in California


Hundreds of thousands of Pleuroncodes planipes, scarlet crustaceans of the lobster family, are dyeing the beaches of Southern California red, and the culprit of the massacre - coincidentally - looks like El Niño again.

To the north. The "tuna crab" (tuna crabs, because this fish is greedy) are not really crabs, but they look like you. They normally live further south, off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, but the warm waters of El Niño have probably moved further north.

The mass of crabs gathered to mate failed to oppose the strong currents, and was stranded on some famous Californian shorelines (like that of Laguna Beach, in Orange County, which as shown below has literally changed color).

Dead and dying #redcrabs at #piratescove in #coronadelmar

A photo published by Christine Lister (@psychprof) on: 13 May 2016 at 09:03 PDT

Temperature gap. For Linsey Sala, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California at San Diego, the periodic phenomenon is due to the intrusion of warm water into the water columns where these crustaceans spend their entire life cycle.

Thousands of dead crabs in Laguna Beach today @GigiGraciette @ ABC7 let's blame #ElNino #weather #crabs #lagunabeach pic.twitter.com/RUyKVFUswn

- tippol photography (@OttoTippol) 13 May 2016

Sad reply. Something similar had already happened last year, due to unusually high ocean temperatures. The authorities had not removed the crabs, for fear of destroying the eggs of grunion, a fish that nests on the sand. Thus the birds feasted on crustaceans for several days.

Intoxicated. In other parts of the Pacific, in the north-western area, El Niño encouraged the explosion of a toxic algae containing domoic acid, a powerful neurotoxin that poisoned several species of crustaceans. For reasons of caution, the authorities asked Californians not to collect and eat beached crustaceans.