Millions of small purple crabs washed ashore on beaches in Hawaii, baffling marine biologists who cannot identify the pea-sized creatures. The crab-like visitors in Honolulu are possibly ‘7-11’ or reef crabs in a larvae stage but local scientists are still unable to positively identify the creatures, WTVR reports. Reef crabs are common along the Hawaiian island but biologists readily admit to never having seen “anything like this” before and are searching for answers to the tiny purple crabs identity and their recent massive arrival by the thousands of the small animals on the beach.
Unfortunately many of the little purple crabs which washed ashore in Hawaii were already dead. Marine experts at the Waikiki Aquarium told Hawaii News Now that storms, influx of warm or cold water or pollution could have caused the arrival of the thousands of small purple crabs on the beach – but the Hawaiian islands have not experienced any of the three scenarios recently.
“If it was pollution it would have affected other species as well. So we really don’t know,” Waikiki Aquarium Director Dr. Andrew Rossiter told Hawaii New Now.
Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources speculate that air bubbles which occur when the “seas get rough” could have gotten caught in the crab’s shell, prohibiting them from diving to get away from the tides, according to Hawaii News Now.
The dead crabs can grow to an six inches across if the are truly young Reef crabs, but the thousands of little dead purple crabs were less than an inch long when found.