Why Are Thousands of Tiny, Larval Crabs Washing Up on a Hawaiian Beach?

What is thought to be a seven-eleven crab at a juvenile stage is washing up on the shorelines of a Hawaiian Island for unknown reasons. (Photo: Susan Scott/Hawaii News Now)

Thousands of berry-size crabs are washing up dead on the shorelines of Oahu. Marine biologists are saying they’ve never seen anything like it, according to Hawaii News Now.

The dead crustaceans are apparently juvenile “7-11” — or spotted reef crabs — that measure smaller than an inch long but as adults grow to be six inches across. Hawaii News Now reports Director of the Waikiki Aquarium Andrew Rossiter saying they’re unsure of the exact cause for the massive death of the baby crabs.

(Photo: Ben Jelf via Hawaii News Now)
Adult spotted reef crab (Photo: Wikimedia)

“Could be storms although we haven’t had any, it could be a flux of warm or cold water coming in but I don’t have any signs of that either.  It could be some kind of pollution, but if it was pollution it would have affected other species as well,” Rossiter said.

Watch the report from Hawaii News Now:

Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL

KHON 2 reports the reactions of several beachgoers:

It’s the first time I’ve seen this, I’ve never seen it before,” says beach goer Bruce Kuwana.

“It’s really weird, it looks like you want to eat it like a little berry,” says beach goer Sonya Lake.

“There are probably millions I’d say,” says beach goer Scott Paddock.

Watch KHON 2’s coverage of the mysterious event:

KHON 2 reports that some crabs found alive on the beach are being saved by the aquarium in the hopes that they’ll be able to rear them, monitoring growth and observing other characteristics from the animal.

(H/T: Huffington Post)