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How to tell whether a sand dollar is alive?

Discussion in 'Marine Life and Ecosystems' started by Moose016, Nov 13, 2006.

  1. Moose016

    Moose016 Nassau Grouper

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    I was diving this weekend on a site with some sand dollars that I was picking up and I couldn't tell whether most of them were dead or alive. The ones with extra holes I assumed were dead, but does anyone know you tell whether one of these things is alive? Stuff sticking out of the bottom?

    Thanks
     
  2. MSilvia

    MSilvia Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cohasset, Massachusetts USA
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    If it's white, and looks like bleached bone, it's dead. If it is colorful, or has little hairlike spines all over it so it looks covered with fuzz, it's alive.

    Alive: [​IMG]

    Dead: [​IMG]
     
  3. mike_s

    mike_s Solo Diver

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    I've been told that the ones that are dead don't have any "hair" on them. (The hair falls off when they die.). If this is true, then if you pick up ones w/o hair then you are ok. To suppor this, all the ones that are broken in half don't have any 'hair' or fuzz on them.

    If this is incorrect, someone please let us know.


    EDIT: Msilvia and I posted at the same time, but I have a comment on his post. I've seen many of them that are not bleached white that are dead and broken in half. They didn't have any hair on them but they were definately not very white like a bleached bone. Can they survive if broken in half?

    2nd Edit: Ok.... from the edited post above that MSivla put pics on, I can cleary see the color difference he meant. The non-white ones I was talking about were more of an "off white" and not yet all the way bleached out. thanks for the verfiication MSilvia.
     
  4. Moose016

    Moose016 Nassau Grouper

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    Thanks for making that clear, mine aren't quite white, but they are tan and there is no hair on them. I broke one apart on accident and it sure didn't seem alive. Are the lives ones always black like that?

    I guess these are dead.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. rjack321

    rjack321 Captain

    # of Dives:
    Location: Port Orchard, WA
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    The fuzz is their skin. Blacks spots are just decayed parts of a dead one or bacteria growing on the remnants. If it looks like bone its dead. Fuzz or any real coloring = alive.

    We have purple ones up here in the PNW, very cool :)
     
  6. REII

    REII Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Coral Springs, FL
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    Also, the fuzz on the underside will be moving if they are still alive.

    TOM
     
  7. CBulla

    CBulla ~..facebook conch..~ ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Yeah.. they're dead. :)

     
  8. Carribeandiver

    Carribeandiver Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: New Orleans
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    easy,,follow the rule,, DO NOT TOUCH THE WILDLIFE and hope the wildlife doesnt touch you. Admire, enjoy, be in awe of, but do not mess with it.
     
  9. MSilvia

    MSilvia Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cohasset, Massachusetts USA
    4,745
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    Those sand dollars in the picture are dead Moose013.
     
  10. MSilvia

    MSilvia Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cohasset, Massachusetts USA
    4,745
    12
    38
    What a helpful response. Next time I'm trying to figure out if a sand dollar is alive, I'll apply the old "DON'T TOUCH IT" rule, and all will be made clear.

    In all seriousness though, please don't molest the live ones. The dead ones probably don't mind.
     

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