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Posts Tagged ‘collecting sand dollars’

Cha ching! Sand Dollars. Fun to find.

Posted by Greg on November 23, 2011

Walking on a beach and finding sand dollars is a beachcomber’s delight. They often can be found on beaches where there is not much else to collect.

According to Cheryl Page at the Gulf of Maine Aquarium, sand dollars are from the class of marine animals known as Echinoids, spiny skinned creatures. Their relations include the sea lily, the sea cucumber, the star fish and the sea urchin. When alive, the local species, Echinarachnius parma is outfitted in a maroon-colored suit of moveable spines that encompass the entire shell. Like its close relative the sea urchin, the sand dollar has five sets of pores arranged petal pattern. The pores are used to move sea water into its internal water-vascular system which allows for movement. “

Sand dollars from Pismo Beach, California (©JodyDiehl)

There are several legends about the sand dollar. One version goes like this: There are five dove shapes locked inside the sand dollar. They hold a hidden promise. After a sand dollar dies and is broken open, the doves are released and come to life, ready to take flight and experience their freedom.

Live sand dollar (Photo from http://www.animalpictures1.com)

Many of us have not seen a living sand dollar. We might think of them as bleach white because that’s what washes up on shore after they die. When they’re alive, they are actually very colorful. Some are green, some are black-purple and some are brown. If you have yet to see a living sand dollar, it is probably because they prefer to dwell under the sand. If you go snorkeling or scuba diving and run across a cache of the white, expired sand dollars, chances are that live ones are in the sand right underneath them, so please do not disturb.

You’ll want to make sure that the sand dollars you collect are not alive. There are fines involved in many beach areas for collecting live shells, and in many places sand dollars are included. According to Karie Partington of  Naples News.com (Naples, Florida), “The live ones are tan in color and have a fine hairlike coating. They also secrete a yellowish, iodine-based substance that gets on your hands if you pick them up. The dead ones are white and hairless. In addition to the legality issue, there are other reasons to steer clear of collecting live sand dollars, said Jose Leal, director of the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum on Sanibel Island. ‘Sooner or later the live ones are going to ooze and get slimy and smelly if you take them,’ he said.”(We’ll assume then that live sand dollars in the Naples, Florida area are tan in color.) The live sand dollar pictured in my hand (below) on a Southern California beach was purple and did not secrete anything on me.

Live Sand Dollar – Underside (©Jody Diehl)

Happy beachcombing!

More reading: Beachcombing? Shelling Regulations Abound. Know Before You Go!

Yummy and festive: How to make your own sand dollar cookies!

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Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Treasures - Beachcombing | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

Top Ten Beaches in Nova Scotia, Canada

Posted by Jody on July 20, 2011

I’ve never been to the beaches of Canada, but according to this article in World News Report, the Top Ten Beaches in Canada are actually the Top Ten Beaches in Nova Scotia!  It looks like this may have come from the tourism board, but they already have me hooked reading their descriptions.  Lake beaches, ocean beaches, pebbly beaches, white sand beaches, beachcombing, rockhounding… They’ve got it all!

Map of Nova Scotia from Wikipedia Commons

“With more than 7,600 kilometers of shoreline and over 100 beaches, there’s a good reason Nova Scotia is home to the best beaches in Canada.”

If you enjoy birdwatching you might want to try Martinique Beach, Mavillette Beach or Taylor Head Beach.

How about a visit to the 1859 historic lighthouse at Margaretsville Beach or fossil exploration on the shores of Cape Chignecto?

If you want a souvenir for your collection you can hunt for sand dollars at Risser’s Beach Provincial Park.

Here are the complete descriptions of their “Top 10 Beaches in Canada”: Nova Scotia – Best Beaches in Canada 

Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Beaches of North America, Tallies & Tips, Top Ten Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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