Lone Survivor

In many hours of searching the tidepools around Haystack Rock I've spotted a single leather star, Dermasterias imbricata, a lone survivor of sea star wasting syndrome.

Leather sea stars were never as common as ochre sea stars, Pisaster ocracheus, in the intertidal zone, so their absence is less noticeable than the glaring disappearance of the oche star.

Just a few years ago ochre stars were so common their brilliant bodies spread red, orange and purple color across almost every rock surface when the tide receded. Now drab rock walls speak of their absence, and only an occasional surface brightens with a specimen that survived the plague.

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