Starfish along the West Coast of U.S. and Canada are melting away at an alarming rate due to sea star wasting syndrome, and researchers are baffled as to why the illness is hitting so hard right now. The syndrome, which starts as white lesions then progresses within a few days to a rapid softening of the body until the creature wastes away into a pile of goo, is believed to be caused by a bacterial infection, and scientists believe the warming sea temperatures may be behind the outbreak. So far, researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz have found 10 sea star species with the syndrome and almost all of the starfish in some areas have been wiped out.

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