LIMA - Thousands of crustaceans have been found dead off the coast of Lima following the mystery mass death of dolphins and pelicans, the Peruvian navy says.
The cause of death is under investigation, said Industry and Fishing Minister Gladys Triveno, warning that "it would be premature to give a reason for this phenomenon".
The navy said it presented a report on the find to the Agency of Environmental Evaluation and Control to determine the cause.
Biologist Yuri Hooker of Cayetano Heredia University said the species found on Pucusana Beach, 60 kilometres south of Lima, was a type of red krill about three centimetres long.
"They live mostly along the coast of Chile up to the coast of northern Peru. What is happening is that these crustaceans are being affected by the warming of Pacific waters in the north of the country," he said, adding that the phenomenon occurs "with some frequency."
Hooker explained that the warmer temperatures led the shrimp-like creatures that usually live far away from the coast to move in closer to land, where they died.