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The first records of Sea Star Wasting Disease in Crossaster papposus in Europe


Smith, Samuel; Hewson, Ian; Collins, Patrick (2022), The first records of Sea Star Wasting Disease in Crossaster papposus in Europe, Dryad, Dataset,


Sea Star Wasting Disease (SSWD) refers to a suite of gross pathological signs observed in Asteroidea species. It presents to varying degrees as abnormal posture, epidermal ulceration, arm autotomy and eversion of viscera. We report observations of SSWD in the sunstar Crossaster papposus, the first observations of its kind in Europe. While the exact cause of SSWD remains unknown, studies have proposed pathogenic and environmental-stress pathways for disease outbreaks. Although the present observations do not support a precise aetiology, the presence of SSWD in a keystone predator may have wide reaching ecological and management implications.


Specimens of C. papposus (n = 12) were collected on an ad hoc basis from crab creels from around 20–25 m depth in the Irish Sea and returned to holding tanks at Queen's University Belfast Marine Laboratory, Portaferry in March 2022. 

Observations were conducted each day until day 31 after capture. Mortality resulting from disease progression was recorded, with survival time measured in days since capture. A Kaplan–Meier survival curve produced for the month-long observation period based on time-to-death.

The data was processed using R version 4.1.2

Usage Notes

Data was processed using R version 4.1.2


Northern Ireland Department for the Economy