Scientists studying mysterious disease that killed millions of starfish

By Salome Phelamei | Last Updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 21:14

Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei

Washington: Scientists are investigating a mysterious disease that has killed millions of sea stars along the US west coast.

Biologists called the disease as `The sea star washing syndrome`. According to the researchers, the arms of the starfish, that have been infected with the mysterious disease, first writhe and crawl and finally detach from the bodies completely. Starfish may develop lesions on their skin when the disease hits.
Generally, starfish can renew lost arms, but this disease doesn`t allow them to heal. Instead, the arms once separated from the bodies will make holes from where the fish innards come out.

The ghastly disease was first reported among starfish along the Washington state coast waters. But now, it has been spotted in Alaska and Southern California waters too.
The disease was first noticed amongst only one species, the Sunflower starfish, in June last year. Now, as many as 12 species have been affected by the sea star washing syndrome.

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First Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 21:14

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