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Thread: How to tell whether a sand dollar is alive?

 


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    How to tell whether a sand dollar is alive?

    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

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    MSilvia's Avatar
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    Is it a bleached skeleton?

    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:

    Dead:
    Matt Silvia

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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.
    Last edited by mike_s; November 13th, 2006 at 01:35 PM.

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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.


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    rjack321's Avatar
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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 :-)

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    REII's Avatar
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    Also, the fuzz on the underside will be moving if they are still alive.

    TOM

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    CBulla's Avatar
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    Yeah.. they're dead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Moose016
    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.

    see you in the funny papers..

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    Carribeandiver's Avatar
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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.

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    Those sand dollars in the picture are dead Moose013.
    Matt Silvia

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    MSilvia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose016
    does anyone know you tell whether one of these things is alive?
    Quote Originally Posted by Carribeandiver
    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.
    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.
    Matt Silvia

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