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General News · 23rd July 2018
Matt C
Noticing an abundance of Marine Pill Bugs at Mansons beach this season. Seems that other coastal communities have had explosions in the population of these quarter inch isopods that are voracious flesh eaters. As the tide comes in over sand they swarm the shallows feeding toes!!!! I laid down in the warm, shallow water only to be swarmed and came out covered in about 20 of them chomping away at me. more info and a link to LA Times article below:

Marine Pill Bug at a Glance
Latin name: Excirolana chiltoni. Relatives: Cousin of the pill bug common to Orange County gardens. Habitat: Japan through the Aleutian Islands and down to the coast of Southern California. Location: Lives in sand near the water's edge Life cycle: Two to three years. Worldwide population: Several million. Common mistake: Sometimes incorrectly called a sea louse or fish louse. Has been known to hinder forensic pathologists in Japan since it often devours all or parts of corpses of drowning victims. A closely related Caribbean cousin, twice as large, often drives swimmers from the water with painful bites. Ichthyologists use the meat-eater to clean specimens of their flesh and leave intact skeletons. When high tide covers nest, it turns predatory, biting chunks of flesh from anything that moves. When tide ebbs, it becomes a scavenger, seeking dead crabs or fish to eat. Moves with ocean currents in packs that contain tens of thousands of individuals and are several square miles in area. Unusual among crustaceans, the female gives birth to live young after a two-month gestation. They stay within the pack into which they were born. Sources: Richard Brusca, curator of crustaceans, San Diego Natural History Museum; Bill Newman, professor of biological oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego; "Intertidal Invertebrates of California," by Morris, Abbott and Haderlie
4 bites at hanks
Comment by Rosemary Bockner on 30th July 2018
4 bites from these bugs at hanks today
Hank's Beach OK
Comment by Jess P on 25th July 2018
No sign of them at Hank's Beach yesterday.
In the lagoon?
Comment by Nikie on 25th July 2018
Wondering if you or anyone can tell me if these things are also in the lagoon itself, or just on the ocean side?