Millions of starfish killed by mysterious disease that is causing sea stars to commit suicide

Millions of starfish along the Pacific coast are dying due to a mysterious disease that causes the sea stars to devour themselves.

Scientists worked over the last two years to finally determine the origin of this weird suicide behavior.

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This Ochre Sea Star is infected with Sea Star Wasting Disease. Photo by Kevin Schafer/Minden Pictures/Corbis)

Sea stars are indeed devouring themselves along the coastline from Mexico to Alaska due to a virus dubbed the Sea Star Associated Densovirus, or SSaDV.

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First signs of sea star wasting syndrome: The starfish begins to look deflated and droopy. Photo by Katie Campbell via EarthFix/Flickr

This mysterious disease causes white lesions to appear before the animal’s body sags, ruptures and spills out its internal organs.

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The leg of this sea star is disintegrating. Photo by Elizabeth Cerny-Chipman, OSU

This stunning phenomenon has been called ‘the Wasting.’

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Learn more:

The Baffling, Gruesome Plague That Is Causing Sea Stars to Tear Themselves to Pieces | VICE | Canada

The Bizarre but True Story of Starfish Committing Suicide

Millions of starfish along Pacific coast are dying due to a mysterious disease that causes the sea stars to devour themselves.

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