Thousands of fish were found washed up dead on the shores of a beach after some of the creatures choked to death on one another.
Grim sightings of the marine life blanketing the Texas, United States gulf coast showed the rotting carcasses as experts got to the bottom of their cause of death.
It would appear the Menhaden fish cluster, which was found dead off the coast of Bryan Beach, was due to a lack of oxygen sparked by the warm water.
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Local officials believe the "low dissolved oxygen event" left the thousands of fish dead as they choked and suffocated in a tightly packed group.
A spokesperson from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Kills and Spills team confirmed the event was due to temperatures in the water reaching higher than 21C.
Their statement read: "Shallow waters warm more quickly than deeper, so if a school of menhaden are trapped in the shallows as the water begins to heat, the fish will start to suffer from hypoxia."
Lacking oxygen can cause the fish to panic, which then depletes the oxygen supply further, which appears to be the reason why the fish, as well as a small shark, were found dead, New York Post reported.
One larger fish was seen dead on the beach with a smaller fish lodged halfway in its mouth, one of many grim carcass sightings on the beach.
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An official said of the incident: "Often before a kill event occurs, fish can be seen trying to get oxygen by gulping at the surface of the water early in the morning.
"Some fish may also be lying on the bottom or at the edge of the water."
Even more dead fish washed up on the beach over the weekend and by the end of Sunday, most of the fish had "deteriorated to the point of being shredded skeletons".
Park crews are now tasked with removing putrid remains from the usually empty beach, while some fish will be buried into the sand.
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