Eulogy for a seastar, Australia’s first recorded marine extinction

Taxonomists more often write about new species than they write eulogies for extinct ones. But eulogies may become all too common, as the current extinction crisis caused by too-rapid environmental change accelerates.


A specimen of the Derwent River Seastar, preserved in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart. Image: Christy Hipsley, Museums Victoria/University of Melbourne.

Or, more likely, species will be lost without any eulogy, or perhaps anyone even noticing their passing.


The discovery and documentation by taxonomists of the estimated 70% of our biodiversity that remains undiscovered is a crucial first step towards their conservation.


This article in The Conversation by Tim O'Hara, Senior Curator of Marine Invertebrates at Museums Victoria, tells the sad and sorry tale of the Derwent River Sea Star, first recognised only twenty-five years before it seems to have become extinct in its much-abused estuary home.

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