Science: The Starfish Eaters

The scholarly paper that German Zoologist Wolfgang Wickler presented at a scientific meeting in Tanzania last January dealt, among other subjects, with sexual fidelity in the animal world. For two members of the conference, Ecologist Lee Talbot and his biologist wife Martha, both of the Smithsonian Institution, his remarks were of more than academic interest. They provided an exciting clue that might well lead to control of the crown-of-thorns, the giant starfish that is literally eating away vital coral reefs in the Pacific (TIME, Sept. 12).

In discussing creatures that form lasting bonds with their mates (jackals, gibbons, geese, etc.), Wickler included...

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