Why Are Starfish Literally Tearing Themselves Apart?

Originally published on February 4, 2014, at TravelersToday.com

Millions of starfish are mysteriously mutilating themselves along the Pacific Coast. Dubbed sea star wasting syndrome, this idiopathic disorder causes the arms of a starfish to writhe and contort until finally ripping themselves apart from their body spilling their innards. Although starfish can usually regenerate lost limbs, infected starfish are too sick to grow their arms back.

From Anchorage to San Diego, starfish carcasses litter the ocean floor in an unprecedented epidemic. Scientists from Cornell, the University of Washington and UC Santa Cruz are researching possible origins of the syndrome that has spread across at least 12 species of starfish.

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