Hundreds of dead spiny starfish were found washed up on Castle Beach in Falmouth last week after heavy winds hit the coastlines.

The starfish, also known as Marthasterias glacias, are a common species in our waters and one of the largest, growing up to 70cm across.

This incident is unusual, as it’s uncommon for large strandings of this species to occur but like all starfish, they are occasionally brought inshore by periods of unusually stormy weather and heavy surf.

Matt Slater, marine awareness officer at the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, said: “Scientists recently discovered that mass strandings of live starfish can be caused by heavy seas and strong currents moving over shallow waters.

“They roll up into a ball and cartwheel along the sea bed like tumble weeds. It is possible that this happened here and may be explained by the heavy surf that has been coming into Falmouth Bay recently.”

The Cornwall Wildlife Trust encourages the public to keep an eye out for any stranded marine life and to report it immediately be calling their marine strandings hotline on 0345 2012626