Thousands of tiny crabs wash up on Oahu beaches - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Thousands of tiny crabs wash up on Oahu beaches

Posted: Updated:
Source: Susan Scott (Hanauma Bay) Source: Susan Scott (Hanauma Bay)
Source: Susan Scott Source: Susan Scott
Source: Ben Jelf Source: Ben Jelf
Source: Susan Scott Source: Susan Scott
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Hawaii's top marine biologists are baffled by an odd site on many of our beaches. Thousands of dead purple crabs washed up in the surf.

Hawaii News Now has received many emails about the tiny crabs found along the south shores and out to Hanauma bay.

The director at the Waikiki aquarium tells us that they are juvenile "7-11" crabs also known as the spotted reef crab.

They are common in Hawaii, however experts at the aquarium they have never seen anything like this and they are searching for answers.

"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. So we really don't know," said Dr. Andrew Rossiter, Director of the Waikiki Aquarium.

Another possible reason, a biologist with the Department of Land and Natural Resources speculates that when the seas get rough, air bubbles can get caught in the crab's carapace (shell) and they cannot dive so they get caught in the tides and wash up on shore.  

The dead crabs are less than an inch long, but they can grow to be about six inches across.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.