Hawaii’s starfish protected from fatal wasting disease – staradvertiser (Hawaii)

There have been some outrageous reports on the Internet lately, with people associating Japan’s Fukushima nuclear meltdown to the die off of our starfish. Folks, it’s apparently a bacterium or virus and has not been affecting Hawaiian Island starfish. If this was related to Fukushima, you would be seeing it there, first. This is not a scientific article, but points out that they apparently have not been affected.


…Wasting disease has not affected Hawaii’s starfish. Because a bacterium or virus is the suspected cause of the starfish illness, being more than 2,000 miles away from the sick individuals seems to be, so far, an effective quarantine. In addition to being isolated by distance, Hawaii’s mountaintop islands and steep ocean drop-offs offer starfish few shallow marine environments, the preferred habitat of many species. Of the 1,900 or so sea star species in the world, Hawaii hosts only 20 in shallow water and 68 in deep water. Susan Scott reports.

Mass Starfish Die-off Appears Headed For Washington – KUOW

Any of you out there diving, you might want to keep an eye open for this happening around the Peninsula dive sites.

In October, divers with the SeaDoc Society have reported small numbers of sunflower stars and three other species of sea stars wasting away in the San Juan Islands. “Every population has sick animals,” said SeaDoc Society wildlife veterinarian Joe Gaydos, on a boat off Orcas Island between research dives. “Are we just seeing sick animals because we’re looking for it, or is it an early sign of a large epidemic that may come through and wipe out a lot of animals?” Scientists in Washington and British Columbia are gathering sea stars for analysis. They’re sending the healthy and diseased specimens to wildlife laboratories to find out if the wasting disease is a virus, bacteria or something else entirely. John Ryan reports.


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