Horrific plague causes starfish to tear themselves to pieces


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Is there a way we can infect patent trolls with this?


I wish now I hadn’t read this article. It is incredibly upsetting. Poor little creatures.


you can also post photos of starfish taken recently or in the past on iNaturalist to the group Pisaster Disaster

We were out tidepool surveying last week and did find some tiny baby starfish, so here’s hoping for a recovery.


I suppose it’s too much to hope that this will get Crown of Thorns as well as the standard five pointers?

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Can we get a unicorn chaser? Because watching that sick starfish literally rip itself apart was the icing on the cake for that story. Gaaah.


Also, before anybody asks, this isn’t caused by Fukushima, either: http://deepseanews.com/2013/12/three-reasons-why-fukushima-radiation-has-nothing-to-do-with-starfish-wasting-syndrome/


Legs tearing themselves off is not horrific to starfish. The horrific bit is the wasting part of the disease, that they start to rot while alive.

Having their legs torn off with part of the center is quite a normal occurrence, it is a survival mechanism and a frequent event in starfish life. They can regrow legs and regrow from a leg that has part of the center attached. In fact if they didn’t have wasting disease, the original starfish would regrow its leg and the leg would regrow a new starfish, so there would be two of them.

Most likely the legs detaching themselves from the sick host is a survival mechanism, as only the healthier legs are doing it. Problem is once they’ve gotten whatever it is they’ve gotten their normal supernatural regenerative powers are no longer working, so both parts die.

The fact that all the news stories about this focus on the leg detachment shows very little understanding of starfish. That being said the huge numbers of die offs and rotting while alive are indeed horrific. So this is a horrific event, just not for the reasons that have made every headline.



I was waiting for somebody to post to jab them with this. :smile:

The guys at deepseanews.com are all kinds of awesome!

This is why you Do Not anger Lord Dagon.


Since I plan on sleeping tonight, I’m not gonna click play on that one. Poor starfish.


I really hope this disease does not make the leap to humans.

What’s more disturbing than a starfish mass mortality event is how unbearable PBS news is.* What should be the best news hour in broadcast television is instead so dumbed down that appears to be written for 6th graders.

*serously, watching a starfish rip itself is waaaay more disturbing. But it’s worth noting how terrible PBS news is because it just shows how little the country cares about public broadcasting.

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They have no brain.

We should import this disease into Australia so our Crown of Thorns problem is taken care of. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

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As reported, the disease suggests a dismal experiment conceived in the brain of some tortured designer, and lends credence to the idea that we’re all living in a simulation. And a rather vicious one.

And then you bring us back to reality with a more mechanistic description of what’s going on.

You almost had me there, universe.

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When this spreads to humans, it will clearly be the start of the zombie apocalypse. I’m prepared.

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When I was four or five my mother told me a story about clam fishermen who would cut any starfish they found into pieces and throw it back in the water. They couldn’t understand why they were seeing an increase in the number of starfish until a marine biologist explained their error.

I didn’t grow up to be the marine biologist my mother hoped I would be, but I will be forever grateful to her for making science and scientists cool. And for making me realize starfish were even more amazing than they appeared.

That makes this story that much more heartbreaking to me.


Very scary.

Anyone else alarmed at the scientists handling the affected starfish with bare hands? Also why does the reporter suggest that the problem didn’t develop on their doorstep - that it must have come from another country?

Seems we are one step closer to Zombie Apocalypse.