Thousands of starfish seen covering Grand Strand beaches

Thousands of starfish washed up along Myrtle Beach’s Grand Strand in June 2020.(Photo: Jenn Lewis)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WPDE) — Thousands of starfish are the latest marine species to find their to the beaches along Myrtle Beach’s Grand Strand.

Aquarist Dakota Hughes from Ripley’s Aquarium said this type of activity from starfish is normal.

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“Most of the sea stars that have been washing up lately are Gray Sea Stars, Luidia clathrata,” Hughes said. “These are an intertidal species, meaning that they live the majority of their lives between the high and low tide lines. They actually sift the sand around them and use it to bury themselves so they end up getting uncovered as the tides fall quicker than they can move.”

Hughes said beachgoers usually see starfish around the summer months because there are more things for them to feed on in the intertidal zone.

As winter comes, starfish will move back out closer to the shelf and will be seen less frequently.

Last month, dozens of Portuguese men o’war washed up on beaches along the the South Carolina coast.

Officials said the tentacles on a Portuguese man o’war are still capable of stinging for a while after it has died.