Sand dollars fill shelves of every seaside souvenir stand, but have you ever seen the live counterparts of these deserted shells? The Sea Something channel on YouTube give viewers a rare glimpse of the fascinating live sea creatures. From color to function, the live sand dollars leave their shells to pale in comparison.
“These are often quite dark in color, almost a black-purple,” the Sea Something narrator says. “You can still kind of see that outline of almost a flower their back.” However, the front of the live sand dollar provides all the action. Small moving bristles on the opposite side provide proof of life and actually perform the most basic of functions in the most organized, efficient fashion.
“What these sand dollars actually eat are microscopic organisms floating in the water,” the narrator continues. “So that’s why they have all these fine, fine. bristles. They’ll actually catch this plankton, move it with their bristles toward the center, which is where their mouth is and then consume it that way.”
According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, these pretty invertebrates also like to stick together. Commonly found in clusters along the ocean floor, as many as 625 sand dollars can live in one square yard.
You don’t need the other 624 to fill your beach-loving friends with awe. Pass along this up close and personal view of a sand dollar in motion and they’ll be talking about it for days.