It's not every day that you think about starfish — people see them as harmless, pretty cool creatures that just chill and don't really bother anyone… and then something awful happens like this, and you wonder why it happens because those starfish didn't do anything to deserve it!
There's a mysterious illness hitting starfish in the Pacific that makes their arms walk away from their bodies until they tear themselves free.
Now THAT'S horrifying!
Apparently a dozen different species of starfish are afflicted with the disease, on both coasts, and they have a few theories why it's happening — none completely solving the riddle. They call it "sea star wasting syndrome."
What happens is that the starfish develop lesions that make them twist their arms into knots, and then the limbs crawl away from the body until they're ripped free. No new limbs grow back and they die in a day!
Right now they think that a boat carried a pathogen from the other side of the world because 'hotspots' of the disease are happening along a major route.
Remember when we said most people don't think about starfish because they're so laid back?
Not true AT ALL — they're actually super important because they're INCREDIBLE PREDATORS. They keep mussels, clams, sea cucumbers, crab and other starfish in check.
Yeah, so this is a BIG problem!
We hope they figure it out soon!
Tags: arms, dying, health, mystery illness, rip, sad sad, scary, sea creatures, starfish, wasting syndrome