Thousands of Starfish, Asteroidea, have washed up on beaches in the east of England this week. The Starfish have been seen on beaches in Ramsgate and Broadstairs on the Isle of Thanet in East Kent, as well as in parts of East Yorkshire, further to the north. While the strandings have largely been of Starfish, other benthic (bottom dwelling) invertebrates, such as Sea Urchins and Lobster, as well as some Fish have also been observed.
Mass stranding of Starfish on a beach in Ramsgate, Kent. Lara Maiklem/SWNS.
While the cause of the strandings is impossible to confirm, it is likely to have been related to a severe storm from the east earlier in the week. The storm brought with it both very low temperatures and high winds, which is likely to have stirred up sediments on the sea bottom, making it difficult for benthic invertebrates such as Starfish to breath, while at the same time cooling them down, which makes them lethargic and unable to escape.
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