'They are a long ways from home': Tiny crabs from Mexico wash up on beach near Newport

NEWPORT, Ore. - Dozens of tiny red crabs rarely seen north of San Francisco washed up on Agate Beach on Wednesday, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said.

"They are a long ways from home. In fact, Newport is likely the furthest north they have ever been seen," according to the ODFW Conservation Facebook page. "These guys are normally found offshore of southern California and Mexico, and are rarely seen north of San Francisco. These crabs, along with other offshore and southern species, such as pyrosomes, have been transported north by the recent El Nino."

The pelagic crabs - also known as "squat lobsters" - washed up on the beach south of Yaquina Head Lighthouse, ODFW said.

Why are they here?

"It is a result of ocean currents from last year's El NiƱo (which is a naturally occurring oceanic process)," according to the ODFW Conservation Facebook page.

"Many are washing up dead. But, even if alive, it'd be tough to throw them beyond the surf zone and they'd just end up back on the beach," the wildlife agency said on Facebook. "For the record, we don't recommend eating them, because they are small and many are washing up dead."

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off