Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sand Dollars - Where'd They Go?

file photo: Texas Parks & Wildlife

For this subject I think I need some help from the local visitors and naturalists. Basically, back a few decades ago we used to find sand dollars - not in great numbers and many were half-fragments, but at least some. We haven't seen a single one lately. As the young kids say these days, "wazzup with that?"

Apparently there are some left, and Gene Gore reported some last year in the sandbars near the jetties when diving. However our state fish and game agency, TPWD, claims that there should be large groupings of them near the second, third, and fourth sandbars up and down the beach.

Maybe the tourists that wake up for 6:00 walks on the beach get them all. But I don't see any conch (not the Queen, a Texas conch like a giant welk) or the official shell of Texas, the Lightning Welk - maybe some spiral pieces is all. But to us the 5-notched sand dollar was always the ultimate prize.

Anybody have some ideas? If you search for sand dollars on the Internet you mainly get resorts of that name, including a wayward ski resort in Maine (huh?). The real thing seems scarce as chicken's teeth these days. See you on the beach and good luck finding those treasures!

Update: I checked with some more links that said erosion and pollution would be causing a decline in numbers of sand dollars. Scarlett Colley (a local expert on such matters) says that some divers and pickers had gotten them many years ago, and she only has some old ones (called tests, their skeletons) for her nature exhibit - she has no live ones.

4 comments:

Lucinda said...

Well, I can't tell you where the sand dollars have gone, but I happened across an interesting article at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/science/13splitw.html?_r=1&oref=slogin that talks about how baby sand dollar larvae clone themselves when there are predators about. Interesting defense mechanism at work here...

Kelly said...

I've still been finding tons of bits and pieces, but I've never found a whole one and I've been going to Galveston and actively looking for 16 years or so.

Lots and lots of pieces.....

Amber Vazquez said...

GO TO TEXAS!!! in corpus christi and port aransas, you can find loads of them, plus starfish. just last year, i found 4 sand dollars and a starfish. i bet its even better now.

Jorge Benavidez said...

I have found two sand dollars on north padre island at bob hall pier the second week in june of 2013 and my daughter and I have found one lightning whelk shell in front of the lexingtington also here in corpus Christi texas a week later and in 2012 I found one starfish on northbeach also here in corpus Christi tx