Scientists have confirmed that the beautiful looking starfish are making a comeback on the West Coast after millions of them got wiped out due to a mysterious illness. Four years ago, a mysterious unknown disease spread throughout the waters of West Coast killing most of the sea creatures.
Among them, around millions of starfish got killed due to the unknown disease. Scientists have named the disease as Sea Star Wasting Syndrome that broke out in West Coast in the year 2013. Approximately 99 percent of the purple sea star population got wiped out due to the bizarre syndrome, and the syndrome also affected about 40 other star species. Although the Sea Star Wasting Syndrome was a mystery to solve for the scientists, the way it affected the starfish also baffled then scientists.
When the alleged Virus attacked the starfish, the starfish would rip off its own arms and guts itself and then its body would get disintegrated, and the arms would turn into blobs of goo. Scientists have been researching immensely to find out the real cause behind the mysterious illness. According to them, there is a pathogen, like a virus, parasite or bacteria that is causing the bizarre illness. But as of now, there is some good news for the starfish as well as the scientists. The Starfish population is recovering from the mysterious illness and is making a comeback to the West Coast.
Darryl Deleske, aquarist for the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in Los Angeles said that the Starfish are coming back, big time. “It’s a huge difference, a couple of years ago; you wouldn’t find any. I dove all the way as far as Canada, specifically looking for sea stars, and found not a single one, he informed. This is not the first time that Starfish population got wiped out due to illness. In the 1970s, 80s, and 90s also, similar type of die-offs of starfish ion the West Coast were reported.
But this time around, the epidemic was much larger and more widespread, says a report made by researchers at the University of Santa Cruz. Deleske further said that when the disease arrived, starfish were seen melting everywhere. On could see an arm here and an arm there. But the good news is, after the epidemic ran through the starfish population, the recovery has been promising. Four adult starfish, almost 7 to 8 inches long, were traced this month at Crystal Cove State Park in Newport Beach. The Starfish population is considered very important for the balance of the marine ecosystem in the West Coast. So their revival on the West Coast is truly crucial.