Some 25,000 dead velvet swimming crabs have washed ashore on England's Thanet Coast. Similar mass die-offs of the crabs have occurred the past three years.
"It's been a phenomenon for probably a third year in a row," Tony Child, Thanet Coast project manager, told LiveScience. He estimated about 25,000 of the dead velvet swimming crabs (Necora puber) were in piles this year, where birds are now ferociously feeding on their carcasses. [Image of beaches littered with dead crabs]
The velvet swimming crab has bright red eyes, with a coat of fine hair on its shell giving it a velvety texture. The crabs come closer to shore at this time of year, Child said, where they feed on the seaweed.