Researchers looking for cause of starfish deaths

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Starfish at the Anchorage Museum have shown signs of a wasting disease reported up and down the West Coast.

The Anchorage Daily News says (http://is.gd/Jbbgxn) the creatures are dying of sea star wasting syndrome, an affliction that causes white lesions to develop on the starfish's skin and an unnatural twisting of the arms. They die after losing their arms and their tissues soften.

Marine scientists say the disease is killing massive numbers of starfish colonies up and down the West Coast.

In Alaska, researchers first discovered evidence of the wasting syndrome last summer on Kayak Island in the Gulf of Alaska.

At the Anchorage Museum, curator Greg Danner says a total of eight sea stars between August and November were euthanized but the museum hasn't seen the disease since then.

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Information from: Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.adn.com

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