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Old 03-08-2018, 05:40 PM
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Default Canarian Weekly: Startled starfish stranded

THE storm that swept across Spain’s southern tip last weekend damaged boats, cars and buildings along the coast… and devastated the starfish population.

A carpet of the marine animals washed up on Huelva’s Punta Umbria beach on Monday in what conservationists believe was a direct result of Storm Emma.

A video, uploaded on Facebook by Juana Salas, which showed the stranded starfish, has been viewed over half-a-million times.

“The sea bottom was churned up at the same time as the spring tides, and add to that a tornado,” said José Antonino Cuesta, a marine biologist.

And Coleen Suckling, a lecturer in Marine Biology at Bangor University, added: “Starfish may be at particular risk of strandings after storms because of a behaviour known as ‘starballing’.”

“By curling each of their multiple arms to create a large spherical balloon shape with their body, they can, essentially, roll over the seabed in fast-moving water, and cover much greater distances. “But during a storm, they could be rolled out of control and left stranded on the beach.”
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