Featured Image Credit: Frédéric Ducarme
Sand dollar is the common name for many flattened species of sea urchins that burrow in the sand, but where exactly did that name come from?
When dead sea urchins wash ashore, their skeletons, or tests, are bleached white by the sun. Beachgoers thought they looked like a large silver coin like the old American or Spanish dollar.
So they started calling them sand dollars. But these sea urchins are also called sand cakes, cake urchins and sea cookies.
Here are a few more cool facts about sand dollars from the Monterey Bay Aquarium:
- Their mouth has a jaw with five teeth-like sections to grind up tiny plants and animals.
- A sand dollar chews for fifteen minutes before swallowing.
- It can take two days for the food to digest.
- Scientists can age a sand dollar by counting the growth rings on the plates of the exoskeleton.
- Sand dollars usually live six to ten years.
All photos courtesy of Wikipedia