Take Two for November 4, 2013

Starfish dying from mysterious 'wasting' disease off the West Coast

Starfish Deaths

Laura Anderson/AP

This undated photo released by the Rocky Intertidal Lab at the University of California-Santa Cruz shows a starfish suffering from "sea star wasting disease" - it's missing one arm and has tissue damage to another. Marine scientists are finding a large number of dead starfish along the West Coast stricken with the disease that causes the creatures to lose their arms and disintegrate. The affliction causes white lesions to develop, which can spread and turn the animals into "goo," and has killed up to 95 percent of a particular species of sea star in some tide pool populations. "They essentially melt in front of you," said Pete Raimondi, chairman of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of California, Santa Cruz's Long Marine Lab.

"Sea star wasting disease" is affecting large numbers of starfish up and down the west coast. The illness begins with a skin lesion which quickly turns these beautiful beings into goo.

Here to tell us more is Pete Raimondi, chairman of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab.

 


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