Thousands of red tuna crabs washed onto Southern California beaches Sunday, repeating a phenomenon experts say occurs with warmer ocean temperatures.

The critters have beached before in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach but Sunday's activity in Huntington Beach stood out, said Marine Safety Lt. Michael Beuerlein. He said he hadn't seen a similar occurrence in his 34 years with the city.

"They flopped up on the shore and they were alive, and then they weren't," he told the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot.

The animals, known as pelagic red crabs, are 1 to 3 inches long and do not pose a threat to humans.

"Once they are on the sand their life cycle has typically come to an end," Marine Protection Officer Jeremy Frimond said. "However, some may still move slightly as their death is not instant once beached."

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