Thousands of Squat Lobster Wash Ashore in Newport Beach

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Much of Newport Beach was covered in crustaceans Monday morning after thousands of squat lobster washed ashore.

Marcus Matsen, who was visiting from Wisconsin, summed it up this way," they look disgusting and they smell horrible." (Credit: KTLA)

Marcus Matsen, who was visiting from Wisconsin, summed it up this way," they look disgusting and they smell horrible." (Credit: KTLA)

Viewers sent in photos and videos of the unusual sight, but according to Julianne E. Steers of the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, the crab-like creatures end up on shore like this about every six years or so.

The squat lobster usually end up onshore during an El Nino event or when water temperatures get warm, according to Steers.

Although they are often mistaken for crabs, Steers says the squat lobster are "in a line all their own" and have a "little bit of a tail."

Chip Yost reports from Dana Point for the KTLA 5 News at 1 on Feb. 23, 2015. 

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