According to WTVR
, biologists say the creatures, which have been washing ashore on the beaches of Hawaii from Kahala to Ala Moana , are likely '7-11' crabs in the larvae stage, but they have been unable to identify the exact species.
Many beach goers are also baffled and intrigued by the creatures as well.
"It's the first time I've seen this. I've never seen it before," says Oahu beach goer Bruce Kuwana, KHON2
"It's really weird. It looks like you want to eat it like a little berry," says beach goer Sonya Lake.
Norton Chan, a biologist at the Waikiki Aquarium told KHON2
he received a call from a lifeguard asking what the creatures were because surfers were complaining they were actually crawling onto their boards and onto them.
"What you are seeing is a swimming stage, probably a few more molts before they settle into their crab stage self," Chan explained. He said the ones that have been spotted are likely dead or close to it.
"I don't think it's that common, but every so often, when conditions are right, these animals really start coming in," says Chan.
Andrew Rossitier, director of the Waikiki Aquarium, speculated on what could have caused this. A lot of the likely reasons such as storms or an influx or warm or cold weather haven't happened and it doesn't look likely they will happen anytime soon.
"It could be some kind of pollution, but if it was pollution, it would have affected other species as well. So we really don't know," Rossitier told Hawaii News Now
, a biologist with the Department of Land and Natural Resources speculates, is that sometimes when the seas get rough, air bubbles get caught in the crab's shell, making it impossible for them to dive, so they get caught in the tides and wash up on shore.
According to KHON2
, Waikiki Aquarium officials are trying to save as many of the tiny purple creatures as they can. The hope is to keep the creatures alive long enough to see how they grow and what they will eat.