Virus Suspected in Sea Star Die-Offs

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Sea Stars along the Pacific coast have perished in an outbreak of wasting syndrome that scientists believe is caused by a virus. Adult Starfish have virtually disappeard this summer from a pathogen called densovirus that has killed millions of sea stars. The condition, known as sea star wasting syndrome produces lesions on the animals's bodies. The end result is death after limbs become detached and flesh dissolves.

I painted my sea star picture from photos I took along the Oregon coast in the summer of 2013. By the summer of 2014, there were virtually no starfish to be found. So far the syndrome has struck 20 species of sea stars! No one knows exactly why it happens. Epidemics of wasting syndrome occur periodically, so hopefully, within a short time, these beautiful sea creatures will be back in force once again! Our oceans and all sea creatures need protecting.

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