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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Where have all the sunflowers gone?

This picture of a juvenile Sunflower Star (Pycnopodia helianthoides) was taken on 12 July 2014.  I haven't seen a Sunflower Star in the intertidal zone since then.  It appears that this species has declined dramatically in the Bodega Bay area, likely due to the effects of wasting disease. 

This juvenile was ~70 mm across, and had ~14 arms.  Here's a picture for scale:

I showed a series of smaller Sunflower Stars from December 2013 through May 2014.  If you'd like to review, links to previous pictures are below:

Here's hoping that some of these juvenile Sunflower Stars have survived:

And that someday soon we'll be seeing adults again like this one from 12 May 2012.

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