Masses of tiny red crustaceans known as tuna crabs have washed up for a second straight year along stretches of the southern California shoreline.
Marine scientists say the phenomenon is linked to warmer ocean currents flowing up the coast.
Waves of the dead or dying tuna crabs have been found carpeting the sand at various San Diego and Orange County spots, including Imperial, Huntington and Newport beaches, since the middle of last week.
The crabs are typically concentrated in Mexican waters off the southern and central Baja Peninsula, but warming currents periodically carry the crustaceans farther north and closer to shore, according to scientists.
The latest event and a similar mass stranding of tuna crabs last June along beaches from San Diego to Orange County coincided with the El Nino effect, which alters ocean temperatures and currents in the eastern Pacific.
Also known as pelagic red crabs, the bright salmon-coloured creatures resemble small lobsters or crayfish, measuring 2.5 to 7.5cm in length.