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“Starballing”: a potential explanation for mass stranding

Abstract

The common starfish Asterias rubens has a long-lived pelagic larva that is considered to be the driver for the wide dispersal of this species, as adult A. rubens are thought to be limited to slow movement. Unexplained mass beach strandings of A. rubens have been witnessed during strong wind and tide conditions. Here, we describe a new observation, “starballing,” where adult A. rubens were observed being transported with a strong tidal flow, which might explain how mass stranding occurs.

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References

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Acknowledgments

We thank INTERREG IV A and the European Regional Development Fund for funding the project (PANACHE) that led to this observation.

Author information

Correspondence to Emma V. Sheehan.

Additional information

This article is registered in ZooBank under urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:443B4F42-FB13-42A6-B92B-1B0F835698A9

Communicated by S. Stöhr

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Sheehan, E.V., Cousens, S.L. “Starballing”: a potential explanation for mass stranding. Mar Biodiv 47, 617–618 (2017) doi:10.1007/s12526-016-0504-3

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Keywords

  • Asterias rubens
  • Dispersal mechanism
  • Mass strandings
  • Behaviour
  • Benthic