If you have been to the sea during low tide then there are chances that you must have come across sand dollars. It is really exciting to see sand dollars come out during low tide buried in the sand and water. Also, you might occasionally see bleached out sand dollars washing in along with the tide as well.
These creatures are one among the many fascinating beings that you find near a beach. The only difference is sand dollars that get washed to the beach can either be dead or alive.
What Are Sand Dollars?
Sand dollars are an interesting terminology for a particular species of sea urchins that are extremely flattened and burrowing. They are also known as sea cookie and snapper biscuit in New Zealand and go by the name of Pansy shell in South Africa. These creatures belong to the order Clypeasteroida. Other animals that fall under the same species are sea urchins, sea cucumber, and starfish. These beings possess a very rigid Skelton which is called a test. Sand dollars also have a velvety spine that helps the sand dollar to move across the seabed. This velvety spine appears in a variety of color; green, blue, violet and purple.
(Image Courtesy: Fine Art America)
How to Identify Between Living And Non-Living Sand Dollar
If you are strolling along the sea and come across a sand dollar then you need to identify whether it’s alive or dead. Picking up any living creature and making it into a souvenir is unethical. So how do you really make out if the sand dollar is alive or not if isn’t bright white in color? Now if you come across a sand dollar that is dark in color and half buried in sand or water then it is most probably alive, and in such a case it is advisable to let it stay there. Sometimes you might even come across sand dollars that are gray in color which is most likely dead and suitable for collection. In that case look for the velvety skin, and if that is missing, then the creature is dead and can be safely removed from its natural habitat. What remains is just the test which is the rigid skeleton in various hues that can be collected and displayed somewhere.
(Image Courtesy: The Ark In Space)
Cool Facts About Sand Dollar
The sand dollar is a small creature that you can fit in the palm of your hand, but this beautiful being is a highly interesting one as well. The sand dollar has a jaw that contains five teeth like sections that are brought into use to grind up plants and animals. The creature has to chew food for long before swallowing it, sometimes as long as 15 minutes. The food in itself takes about 2 days in order to digest. Sand dollars can live anywhere from 6 to 10 years. The growth rings on the plates of the exoskeleton of the creature are a factor by which its age can be determined. The sand dollars bury themselves under the sand when pink sea threatens them.
(Image Courtesy: Awesome Ocean)
The sea is filled with fascinating beings and if you had a brush with any such creature that you wish to know more about then let us know using the comment box below.
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