Millions of starfish have been mysteriously dying on the west coast of the US, reports say.
Deaths were first noticed en masse in June 2013 with the deaths of two particular species - the purple sea star and sunflower sea star.
The latter is among the largest of starfish and can span more than a meter in diameter.
While the purple sea star or ochre starfish grows to a maximum of 10 inches.
The most commonly observed symptoms are white lesions on the arms of the sea star, according to Agence France Presse (AFP).
The lesions spread rapidly and the creature loses the arm before the unknown infection consumes its entire body and it dies.
Populations of starfish have been wiped out in Puget Sound off the Washington State coast, in the Salish Sea in British Columbia and off the coast of California.
Scientists who have spent decades studying the local ecosystem have yet to find the cause of the illness and spate of deaths.