Scientists found virus that kills sea stars

20.11.2014

Since last year millions of these ocean creatures die in scary circumstances, more reminiscent of horror films scenes. As a result of unexplained atrophy syndrome tentacles of the animals are separated from the body, and the skin becomes so thin, that her internal organs become visible. This terrible picture can be seen all along the Pacific coast of the United States from California to Alaska. And finally, scientists were able to determine the cause of mass death of sea stars.

Scientists found virus that kills sea stars

It turned out that the reason is the so-called ┬źdensovirus┬╗, a variation of the parvovirus, which strikes invertebrates. This disease was the first sea stars virus described by science. It was present in populations of sea stars ever, scientists believe, but it was on the lower level of development. Its traces were being found in samples of sea stars starting from the 40-ies of the last century. The reason of this outbreak is yet unknown. There is already a speculation that it could be a redundancy of a population or mutation of the virus. It may be contained in the sea water, sediments or plankton. It is worth mentioning that the predatory starfish are an integral part of ocean ecosystems and the reduce in their numbers or extinction may become the biggest environmental shocks in the history of the Earth.