Talk about learning something new!
We have all probably seen, held, or owned our very own sand dollar at one point in our lives. They are commonly sought-after sea treasures for young and old alike. But, have you ever seen one alive?
Dead sand dollars are so common that it is easy to forget that they are living creatures. Their scientific name is Dendraster excentricus and they are invertebrates that are closely related to sea urchins, sea stars, and sea cucumbers.
When sand dollars are alive, they look completely different. To start, they are a dark purple color, and the classic star shape is extremely difficult to see. The most surprising thing is when one is flipped over. It’s equally interesting and creepy.
Thousands of little hair like legs can be seen moving in a strange sort of dance. It is truly amazing to see.
Check out the live sand dollar below!
Now, believe it or not, sand dollars actually move across the ocean floor. They move around collecting nutrients to feed their tiny, interesting little bodies.
However, they move very slowly. For a novice observer, it may look like they don’t move at all. They may look like a stationary rock. It is important to remember that these dark purple sand dollars are actually living things and should not be removed from their homes. So, keep your collecting to the dead, dried up sand dollars that are easily found on most beaches.