What's Killing all the Starfish?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dead Starfish wash up on Block Island after the 1996 North Cape oil spill off the coast of Providence, RI. (Oil Spill Info)

A mysterious syndrome is ravaging sea stars along the West Coast, leading to massive die offs. No-one knows what’s behind the disease, which causes living sea stars to dissolve. In some cases, sea star arms have been documented crawling away from the body of the invertebrate, disemboweling it. Dr. Benjamin Miner is a professor at Western Washington University.

Watch a video of Starfish Wasting Syndrome below:



Dr. Benjamin Miller

Comments [6]

Margaret Bartley from Ballard

There is an article this week in Newsweek ( ) that talks about this, and says that the starfish in the big aquariums in Seattle and Vancouver are also dying. I am pretty sure those aquariums filter the water, and maintain constant temperatures.
I"m surprised that none of the articles on this story mention Fukushima and the massive radiation it is dumping into the ocean.

Oct. 03 2014 10:36 AM
m o'rourke from uk

radiation from fukushima's meltdowns

Jul. 21 2014 11:50 AM
Wayne Johnson Ph.D. from Bk

Did he really say that some biologists are severing the nerves of Starfish. If I misunderstood that comment, sorry.
But if it's true, shame on them.

Feb. 15 2014 09:50 PM
Amy from Manhattan

It sounds as if whatever is causing this is something that can be filtered from the water, but that can't help starfish in their natural habitat, right? So what can be done about it?

Feb. 13 2014 02:02 PM
mick from NYC

I saw a documentary that claimed that, due to depletion of natural predators, starfish (along with parrot fish) were over running and destroying coral reefs that are critical habitats to many fish. Could this wasting disease be related to that phenomenon?

Feb. 13 2014 01:52 PM


Thanks so much for covering this story.

I've been in love with sea stars and seahorses ever since I was a child. For me, they are the 2 most fascinating water dwelling animals.

I hope that Dr. Miner and his colleagues have enough resources at their disposal to unravel this mystery and save these wonderful creatures before it's too late.

Feb. 13 2014 09:07 AM

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