Image caption: Giant triton eating a crown-of-thorns
Original Published Date: 
Monday, December 15, 2014

Scientists at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) have found that the scent of a rare giant sea snail terrifies the crown-of-thorns starfish. ARC Future Fellow, Dr Scott Cummins, said the findings could assist in protecting the Great Barrier Reef from its main predator, and arguably greatest natural threat. “Giant tritons only eat about one crown-of-thorns starfish per week, so breeding enough of them to control big populations is not really feasible. But we now know the giant tritons release this scent that makes the starfish scurry away. We hope to chemically synthesise the molecule, then use slow release baits to dispense the scent compound to control the movements of the starfish.”

Media issued by the University of the Sunshine Coast

 

Photo credit: 

Image credit: K Goodbun from AIMS.