Starfish Disease hits of Coast of California
6th November 2013
A record number of starfish are dying along the West Coast, as a disease turns their arms into “goo.”
The animals, also known as sea stars, are falling victim to sea star wasting disease. It causes white lesions to develops along their arms, which slowly spread and cause their arms to disintegrate.
“What’s happening? We don’t know yet. We think it’s bacterial,” Pete Raimondi, chairman of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Long Marine Lab. “We also know that it can move between species. They get a wound and the bacteria will just kind of eat the species away.”
Researchers first started reporting the die-off in June. In late August, marine biologist Jonathan Martin, out for a Saturday scuba dive, noticed dead starfish that looked like they’d had their arms chopped off, he told National Geographic.