Starfish have washed up on the shores of the German island of Sylt. For several days, the waves of the North Sea have been carrying hundreds of these marine invertebrates, which are dying en masse on the beaches. However, experts reassure that this is a natural phenomenon.
Hundreds of starfish have been washed up on the beaches of the island of Sylt in northern Germany for several days. The invertebrates living in the North Sea are dying en masse on the shores – there are so many animals in places that they form large piles.
Storms and the fate of species
As Claus von Hoerschelmann from the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park explains, this phenomenon has a completely natural basis. Winter storms are to blame for everything, which strongly agitates the sea. Many shallow-dwelling starfish do not have the strength to resist the waves and are washed onto beaches. However, this does not threaten the survival of animals: individuals inhabiting deeper regions of the sea migrate and rebuild their population.
They are not very nutritious
National park ranger Anne Schacht recalls that tens of thousands of dead starfish were found on the shores of Sylt in the winter of 2015. The main reason for such a huge scale of this phenomenon was probably the rapidly rising and falling water level.
What will happen to the beached starfish? Some of them are likely to be eaten by other animals, although Hoerschelmann points out that they are not very nutritious.
“Even seagulls only eat them in exceptional cases,” he adds.
ENEX, NDR, Hamburger Abendblatt
Main photo source: ENEX