Stuff to worry about #4: Starfish

Ha, ha, you thought you had escaped from the Stuff to Worry About series. Silly readers. I worry about so many things that I had to self-edit so you wouldn’t be getting Stuff to Worry About posts all the time.

There is a plague on starfish. You may read about it here. Basically, starfish are dying of this wasting disease where their arms fall off, and because I don’t want to be the only one having these nightmares, I am going to add that sometimes in the course of this disease their arms fall off and crawl away. 

Scientists are hoping they can figure it out ASAP. I will keep you posted.

29 thoughts on “Stuff to worry about #4: Starfish

  1. That is the strangest thing I’ve seen. And saddest. I sure hope they figure out the issue. The video was pretty sad to watch.

    • Hahahaha, I know! When I told my podcast partner Whiskey Jenny about this, she shrieked and said that was so scary because you and your arms are supposed to be in this together! Betrayal from within! (she said)

  2. I KNOW. UGH I saw an article about that as well and freaked out a bit. How do limbs just craw away?! Bleh, let’s hope it’s not contagious. ;) Seriously though, I hope it isn’t. I like my legs.

  3. What?! I almost threw up reading this! Their arms fall off and walk away! Sometimes?! I had the same train of thought as Katie: what if our arms start doing it?!!!

  4. I can’t bring myself to feel sorry for starfish; they’re pretty gross creatures anyway (all that stomach evacuation bit). They’ve been going, as species, for a lot longer than we have, and I suspect have weathered more ecological catastrophes than we can throw at them (speaking as a geologist).

      • Okay, you asked for it! This is an extract from my undergraduate palaeontology textbook – which has stuck with me when many other things about palaeontology have not:

        “Most modern starfish are voracious predators and feed on molluscs, in particular preying actively on bivalves. When a starfish such as Asterias locates a bivalve it climbs on top of it, engages the two valves with its suckered tube-feet, and for several minutes or longer pulls the two valves in opposite directions. Eventually the stress set up becomes too great for the bivalve’s adductor muscles, and the valves open slightly. The starfish then everts its stomach out of its mouth and squeezes it bit by bit inside the opened valves. Digestion of the soft parts [of the bivalve] takes place with the shell, and when feeding is complete the stomach returns inside the starfish again.” [italics mine]

        Isn’t that the grossest thing you ever heard?

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  6. The disturbing things that you worry about that now I will worry about. LOL! I swear that I’m going to have nightmares about starfish now. But seriously, how sad…and weird…and disturbing.

  7. Horrifying. The video was sad but I’m glad at least that someone noticed and it’s being investigated. And cool that they are recruiting the masses via internet to help document the problem.

    I don’t think all starfish can regrow arms… ?

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