Valery LEBOVKA, “FACTS”
Many coral reefs are of interest to tourists from Ukraine and other countries of the world are under threat, as they destroy the barbed and extremely toxic starfish akantaster.
Read more in the article published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Multibeam starfish Acanthaster planci no wonder is called “crown of thorns”. Adult akantaster thickly strewn with sharp and extremely venomous spines, making them virtually inaccessible to predators. Meanwhile themselves as they are extremely voracious, and, feeding on coral polyps, cause huge damage to reef ecosystems. Covering the coral with your body, akantaster Evert the stomach, releasing digestive enzymes.
On the Great Barrier reef and then recorded outbreaks of “thorny crowns”. Given the fact that each star destroys in a year more than 10 square meters of corals, each pulse causes serious damage, particularly dangerous at the current sad state of the reef. It is not surprising that biologists are looking for a deterrent to such invasions, including natural allies of the predators that eat these toxic animals.
Chief among them is still considered a snail charonia, fishing on which Souvenirs are actively (and unsuccessfully) trying to ban. There are observations and some fish attacked akantaster, but they remain uncertain: as a rule, the fish were too badly damaged after this fight. In order to establish, finally, the natural enemies of these stars, Frederick Kroon (Frederieke Kroon) and his colleagues from the Australian Institute of marine science (AIMS) went to the Great barrier reef.
During several expeditions in 2018-2019, the scientists caught about 700 fish of hundreds of different species that were feeding in parts of the reef with varying degrees of damage cancertherapy. In the lab, they received samples of faeces from each fish and analyzed surviving in these DNA fragments.
Pre-biologists armed with molecular markers to determine the presence of the DNA of akantaster.
She found representatives of 18 species of fish, half of them previously and was not suspected in the hunt for the poisonous stars. Scientists suggest that, indeed, “thorny crowns” can be an easier preythan is commonly believed. Even the data obtained do not allow to identify species that feed on larvae of these stars, which are not only toxic, but also much softer, so their tissues are digested faster and could not survive in the gut of experimental fish.
This understanding will allow you to develop more effective methods to protect coral reefs from the voracious akantaster. Still the main method of dealing with them is trapping these animals, one by one. Perhaps instead we should focus on helping natural allies in this fight — snails and fish.
Earlier, the “FACTS” he wrote about the new threat facing the world’s oceans: with the end of last month, divers often find the so-called “COVID-19 garbage”: dozens of gloves, masks and bottles of antiseptic.