Mystery Illness That "Melts" Starfish Identified | IFLScience
Since 2013, millions of sea stars from at least 20 species have been suffering devastating losses up and down the Pacific Coast between Alaska and Baja California -- and in a very gruesome way. It starts with inflammation and tissue ulcers and decay, and eventually their limbs pull away from their bodies, organs ooze through their skin, and they disintegrate and die. The extensive range and the number of species infected by this sea star wasting disease makes it one of the largest marine wildlife diseases ever, yet the cause is a mystery. Now, researchers may have pinpointed the deadly culprit: a densovirus that’s been festering at low levels since at least 1942.