Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sand Dollar's Purgatory

As I mentioned yesterday, Saturday we had very low and high tides caused by the super perigee moon. Before I shot the moonrise over Thacher Island, I went over to Annisquam to check out the low tide. This is a good area to find live sand dollars during abnormally low tides.

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

What I found was a purgatory for sand dollars. Many were stranded for hours without water. This is a live sand dollar. Note that it is rich brown in color and it has spines that give it a velvety appearance. These bristles  move slowly and propel the animal along and in the sandy bottom.©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

It's fun to pick up a souvenir from the beach, but if you find one like this it is a living creature.  These sand dollars are in a bit of trouble. They are stranded high above the water line and the tide I out. Yet their spines slowly work their three inch diameter bodies into the sand. But if the conditions are not right, they can become stranded on the surface.

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse ©2011 ShootingMyUniverse©2011 ShootingMyUniverse ©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

Then at last, the tide turns and brings the fresh sea water over their tops. And they are safe for another 12 hours. It isn't every day that they are exposed like this on Annisquam. Only during the really low tides.

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

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texwisgirl said...

They're beautiful. Poor little stranded creatures.

Kerri said...

They are so lovely! I hope they made it!!

Kah-Wai Lin said...


Roy said...

Thats a very interesting post Steve. I didn't know these existed.

Ginnymo said...

This post was interesting. I've never seen live sand dollars before. great photos Steve!

Debbie Smith said...

Very beautiful pictures!
Of course, I love the lighthouse!
Have a fabulous day!
Debbie's Travels

PaulaO said...

This was so interesting. Thank you for posting it! You do a great job.

chubskulit said...

Oh how relaxing that sight is.

Come see my watery Wednesday, have a lovely day!

John said...

Gorgeous shot!

Watery Wednesday t my page, please come and see.

Carletta said...

Wow, a wonderful set of images!
I don't suppose I've ever seen a live one - thanks for sharing!

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