Saturday, 17 January 2015

Giant snail the solution to Barrier Reef’s Crown-of-thorns problem?

Beautiful as it may be, the Crown-of-thorns Starfish has had a devastating effect on parts of the Great Barrier Reef

Good news for Australia in the battle to save delicate coral organisms on the Great Barrier Reef from annihilation by the rapidly multiplying and invasive Crown-of-thorns Starfish.

Scientists have discovered that the scent of the Triton Sea Snail is repellent to the giant starfish.

The Crown-of-thorns has been responsible for 40 per cent of coral cover loss on the Great Barrier Reef in the past 30 years.

University of the Sunshine Coast senior lecturer Scott Cummins says they have learned that the Triton Snail is one of the starfish’s natural predators.

"We put [the snail] next to the Crown-of-thorns Starfish and they reacted quite obviously," he says.

"They started to run away, which is quite an important finding because it tells us they do have very poor eyesight, so they are sensing or smelling their main predator."

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