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Bizarre disease is killing starfish


Bizarre Disease Killing Pacific Coast Starfish

Scientists are scrambling to find out what's causing starfish in the Pacific Coast to die in an extremely bizarre way.

It's a disease known as 'sea star wasting syndrome' and it causes a starfish's arms to 'escape' from their bodies. The appendages detach and then just 'walk' away.

The starfish aren't able to survive longer than 24 hours after they become dismembered. It caught the attention of scientists last summer and one diver documented the gory deaths off the coast of Washington.

'There were bodies everywhere and they were just like these splats. To me, it looked like someone had taken a laser gun and just zapped them and they just vaporized.'

Not every species of starfish is infected, but researchers don't know enough to guarantee that the disease won't spread. They are currently doing genetic sequencing to find out what might be causing the starfish to breakdown.

Scientists are also asking beachgoers to take pictures of any starfish showing symptoms of this unknown disease and tweet the images with the hashtag '#sickstarfish.'


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