A swarm of rainbow-colored starfish devouring a sea lion's carcass at the bottom of the sea

A swarm of rainbow-colored starfish devouring a sea lion’s carcass at the bottom of the sea

This stunning image of a dead California sea lion covered in colorful bat stars was recently announced the winner of a major wildlife photography prize. (Photo credit: David Slater)

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An award-winning photographer captured this bleak moment when dozens of colorful sea stars began devouring a lifeless sea lion on the sea floor in California.

Wildlife photographer David Slater captured this harrowing photo in the shallow waters of Monterey Bay. The dead sea lion and its offspring swimming in the background are probably California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), but they can also be Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus), based on the geographical range of the two species. Sea stars are all bat stars.Patria Miniata), and starfish freckles that come in a wide range of colors. Star bats play a key role in recycling sea lions into energy and nutrients, and returning their remains to the marine food web.


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