The Seattle Aquarium’s work on Sea Star Wasting Disease (SSWD) was recently featured in a segment on KING 5 News. Dr. Lesanna Lahner, staff veterinarian, is treating a group of sea stars showing signs of the disease with antibiotics to see if the medication helps the animals fight it off. The segment also received coverage on NBC’s national news.
This pair of harlequin shrimp, Hymenocera elegans, are feeding on a portion of a sea star in their Ocean Oddities exhibit. As an obligate feeder, this tropical shrimp preys exclusively on sea stars (although some observers note that they may nibble on the tube feet of sea urchins) in the Indo-Pacific region.
The basket star, Gorgonocephalus eucnemis, is basically a fancy brittle star. After attaching to a rock or other firm substrate, an adult basket star will spread its five intricately branched arms into the water to catch tiny zooplankton (crustaceans, arrow worms, and sometimes fish larvae and jellies). Hooks on the arms snag the prey items which are then rolled up in mucus strings within the tiny branchlets.