A preferred vacationer vacation spot in Cornwall has turn out to be inundated by a heaving crush of venomous spider crabs.
Pictures shared on social media have captured the swarming crustaceans that massed within the shallows of Porthgwidden Beach, St Ives.
The crabs are there to shed their shells earlier than returing to their breeding floor as a part of the species’ annual migration sample to hunt out hotter waters.
When the crabs moult, they exit by the again of their shell, forsaking the entire exoskeleton together with the legs and eye stalks, which may look similar to an intact crab.
One snorkeller who dived all the way down to get a glimpse of the spectacle stated she had by no means seen spider crabs accumulate in such numbers.
Kate Lowe, a marine photographer who snorkels at Porthgwidden all year long, stated: “I go snorkelling most of the time throughout the year, but I have never seen spider crabs in such numbers.
“When we turned up at the beach, it looked as though there were lots of dark rocks under the surface. But it turned out that there were thousands of crabs just two or three steps into the water.”
She added: “It was just really incredible. They were only knee-deep. I was able to float on the water above them and tried not to step on them.
“A lot of the tourists were squealing at the sight of them.”
It is believed mass gathering helps the crabs defend themselves from predators whereas they wait for his or her new exoskeletons to thicken and toughen up.
The crustaceans have a venomous chew to which may kill their predators – however are innocent to people.
Despite the reported growth in numbers of spider crabs in British waters, there’s little market within the UK for spider crab meat, regardless of it being thought of a delicacy in European international locations together with Spain and France.
But the National Coastwatch St Ives advised Cornwall Live: “They are just the shells of a crab, they are not dead.
“They shed shells for new ones.”
Last July, a congregation of spider crab carcasses washed up on the seashores of Anglesey off north Wales.
Photographs just like these out of Cornwall at present captured the ghastly tableau the place the legs, claws and carapaces of washed-up spider crabs had gathered.