HUNDREDS of starfish washed up onto Mablethorpe beach in the last few days may have been swept ashore by heavy sea storms, an expert has said.
Reports were made to the Leader last week of starfish stranded and dying on the beach.
A Miss Fisher from Skegness, who was visiting the Mablethorpe area, called the Leader to report what she had seen.
She said: “I was walking along the beach when I saw hundreds of dead starfish, rows and rows of them.
“I’ve never seen anything like it.”
We spoke to Richard Harrington of the Marine Conservation Society and he confirmed they were common starfish (Asterias rubens).
He confirmed mass strandings of starfish were common in parts of the coast in winter time, and that it was likely that rough seas had dislodged them in large numbers.
“It may be associated with breeding as well,” he said. “Especially as many of the specimens that wash up are often similar-sized mature adults.
“But the common starfish tends to aggregate and spawn most in spring and summer, so that doesn’t explain it entirely.”
He added that when the starfish had washed up many would unfortunately already be dead.
“The fact that there’s a razorshell and hornwrack in the picture, both shallow water residents, along with common starfish would back up the likelihood that it is simply stormy weather that has caused this big strand,” added Richard.
Richard said it was likely there would also be sea potatoes (a kind of sand-dwelling sea urchin) washing up this time of year.
Native to the North Atlantic, common starfish can live for up to ten years and have a bizarre feeding method where they extrude their stomach out and over their prey to digest it.
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