Thousands of tuna crabs washed up on San Diego Beaches. Is El Nino to blame? Photo: Jim Grant

Thousands of tuna crabs washed up on San Diego Beaches. Is El Nino to blame? Photo: Jim Grant, used with permission

Thousands of tuna crabs washed up on San Diego beaches Thursday creating quite a stir among beachgoers and speculation from scientists as to the cause.

Past invasions of tuna crabs were indicative of warm-water events, but researchers told the San Diego Union-Tribune they weren't sure if this was related to the warm-water "blob" off the West Coast and Mexico or El Nino.

Coincidentally, on Thursday NOAA released its latest El Nino forecast, showing the anomaly has strengthened. NOAA predicts a greater than 90 percent chance that El Nino will continue through this fall and an 85 percent chance it will last through the 2015-16 winter.

Not only that, a strong El Nino by the end of summer was forecasted a few days ago by more than 80 percent of model members from the North American Multi-Model Ensemble, according to Eric Blake from the National Hurricane Center.

Whatever the exact cause of the tuna crab invasion, the beaches from Tijuana, Mexico, to La Jolla, California, turned red in many areas. In some cases dogs and seagulls were having their fill of the crustaceans, according to CBS8.

KGTV has the story:

Tuna crabs are about the size of a thumb and look like tiny lobsters in the water as they spread their pinchers. They are typically found in the warm, open waters off Baja feeding on plankton.

Where you'll find tuna crabs you're likely to find tuna, a species that especially enjoys feeding on them.

Just recently, the pending spearfishing state-record 173-pound bluefin tuna taken by a spearfishermen off Dana Point, California, was full of tuna crabs.

A tuna crab is about the size of a thumb and looks like a tiny lobster underwater. Photo: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

A tuna crab is about the size of a thumb and looks like a tiny lobster underwater. Photo: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

Tuna crabs washed ashore on beaches from Tijuana to La Jolla. Photo: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

Tuna crabs washed ashore on beaches from Tijuana to La Jolla. Photo: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

Apparently, dogs like eating them, too.

"My dog eats like 35 every time he's out here," Chelsea Vaughan of Ocean Beach told CBS 8. "I have to tell him to stop eating them cause they pinch him on the tongue."

Jim Grant was among the impressed. He photographed a massive amount of tuna crabs at Ocean Beach.

"It was like a sea of red on the sand," Grant told the Union-Tribune. "I thought, 'What the heck, that's not seaweed.' It was awesome."

More from GrindTV

6 national park lodges that trump camping

Tourists fined for stripping blamed for Sabah earthquake

Why it's so hard to let go of old gear