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A Sea of Red

Newport Beach was one of many Southern California cities to experience the influx of red crabs on its shores in May. Pelagic red crabs – or tuna crabs – live in warm waters closer to Baja but warmer-than-usual ocean temperatures and ocean currents carried them north, according to Michelle Clemente, the city’s Marine Protection division supervisor.

“This species of crab is unlike out local crabs,” said Clemente. “Tuna crabs are not strong swimmers or crawlers like the crabs we typically see along the Newport Beach coast and they do not survive for long out of the water. They rely upon the ocean currents to carry them and they are unable to swim out of the surf zone.”

City maintenance crews cleaned the crabs off some bay beaches on Little Balboa and from some bayfront beaches.

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