In a breakthrough, a new way – power of attraction – that could help save Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef from starfish has been discovered by the scientists. The power of attraction may destroy one of Great Barrier Reef’s fiercest enemies, according to Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia.
The researchers have said that because of a release of pheromones the rown-of-thorns starfish gather in large numbers. The pheromones is a scent that they have decoded so the prickly pests can be lured to their capture.
“For an already struggling Great Barrier Reef, and indeed any reefs across the Indo-Pacific region, these starfish pose an enormous threat due to the ability of a single female to produce up to 120 million offspring in one spawning season,” said Professor Bernard Degnan, who led the study.
“They feast on the coral and leave it bleached white and vulnerable to destruction in heavy storms,” said Degnan.
Over many years, several steps have been taken and millions of dollars have been spent to capture crown-of-thorns starfish via diver collection, injections or robotics.
“Now we have found the genes the starfish use to communicate, we can begin fabricating environmentally safe baits that trick them into gathering in one place, making it easier to remove reproductively-primed animals,” Degnan said.
The research has been published in the journal Nature.