A reef destroying invasive species…

Nightmare starfish

…that isn’t man. Let me introduce you to a Crown of Thorns, A voracious and difficult to destroy starfish, owing to its spiny carapace and neurotoxin defense. Rumors also abound that slicing it up causes it to regenerate in Hydra fashion, but that’s not exactly true.

They are the subject of campaigns to control or eliminate them, as they’re destroying reefs in many parts of the world, as they eat live coral. Australia has been particularly hit, though I’ve seen plenty in the Andamans.

Theories as to why they’re spreading include human-caused reductions in their natural predators and algal blooms (caused by fertilizer runoff) providing alternative food sources to the fish that might otherwise eat starfish larva.

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