Up to half a million mussels were cooked in unusually mild waters on the New Zealand coast in the wild in a massive "death" that marine experts have linked to climate change.
The dead mollusks were found by Brandon Ferguson from Auckland at Maunganui Bluff Beach near the northern tip of the North Island.
Recordings published on social media show a stunned Brandon Ferguson who wades through almost knee-deep rock pools with clam shells and remarks: "They are all dead … there is nothing left."
Professor Chris Battershill, a marine ecologist at Waikato University, said there has been a similar death with cockles and clams in recent years.
"The common denominator seems to be really hot conditions with plenty of sunlight and unusually calm water over a long period of time," he told AFP.
"This leads to a combination of heat stress and the animals' lack of oxygen because the water is so still. They eventually succumb … they are effectively cooked alive."
Professor Chris Battershill said the extreme conditions are unusual.
"It has to do with climate change, I think," he said.
"Mussels are robust little animals – you think that if they are harvested, they will survive in the supermarket with little water.
"So extreme conditions are required to kill them. And if you've had a number of deaths involving a number of species in the past few years, you really need to sit up and be alert."
Andrew Jeffs, a marine scientist at the University of Auckland, said that climate change is likely to result in more mass extinctions.
He said mussel populations would eventually move to cooler waters if the temperatures rose.
"I expect this will ultimately result in mussel beds being pushed out of the shores in the north of the country and still further south," he told AFP.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)