The Press

‘Am­ber’ alert at beach

- Jonathan Guild­ford Animals · Wildlife · Christchurch · University of Canterbury · South Island · New Brighton

A Christchur­ch beach has taken on a strik­ing bright or­ange tinge af­ter mil­lions of tiny ma­rine crea­tures washed ashore.

Res­i­dent Moreen Sack­ree was at Southshore Beach in South New Brighton about 10am on Tues­day when she came across what she be­lieved were mil­lions of ‘‘lit­tle krill or squat lob­sters’’.

‘‘I came across an or­ange beach – some­thing I have never seen [be­fore].’’

Sack­ree said many of the ma­rine crea­tures ap­peared to be dead.

Another beach-goer, Eve Driver, said when she came across the swarmabout 6pm on Tues­day, none were alive and many had been buried un­der the sand.

Ma­rine ecol­o­gist John Pirker, from the Univer­sity of Can­ter­bury, said the tiny crea­tures ap­peared to be gre­gar­i­ous squat lob­ster – a small crus­tacean that feeds on the ocean floor.

Squat lob­sters gen­er­ally move in swarms along the eastern coast of the South Is­land. They swam in­shore to breed af­ter com­plet­ing their ‘‘lar­val cy­cle’’ and set­tled in shal­low wa­ters – usu­ally be­tween Oc­to­ber and May.

 ?? MOREEN SACK­REE ?? Christchur­ch’s Southshore Beach has been turned a strik­ing bright or­ange by mil­lions of tiny ma­rine crea­tures.
MOREEN SACK­REE Christchur­ch’s Southshore Beach has been turned a strik­ing bright or­ange by mil­lions of tiny ma­rine crea­tures.

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