Types of Sand Dollars

Because I have a few big sand dollars myself, I will include pictures of the ones in my collection to highlight the different types of sand dollars you may find while beach-combing.

I have three whole sand dollars, although the little one is slightly broken.  We may call them shells, but they are not.  They are ‘tests’ and are really the outer skeletons of the creature who made them.  They are really echinoderms,  like the sea urchin, sea cucumber and sea star (starfish).  And they don’t start off white.  Once the animal dies, the sand wears off their fuzzy outer coating, and the sun bleaches them.  In life, they are colorful and can be green, purple, or brown.

sand dollar
Arrowhead

In my photo here on the left, is the large, four inch arrowhead.  It is flat and has a series of lines on the backside. I can hear the “jaws” rattling around inside.  Those jaws are what move to digest the sand dollar’s food.

There are different types of sand dollars. The keyhole sand dollar is similar to the arrowhead, but has five small holes. The notched sand dollar has holes along the edge.

The holes are used in part for helping the creature sink into the sand, where it lives and feeds.

three-sand-dollars
The arrowhead and sea biscuit / sea cookie sand dollars

The little sea cookie is very fragile, and is broken as you can see.  Sand dollars are delicate and will break easier than most shells.  If you find a whole one on the beach, wrap it in something to carefully bring it home to clean. If a sand dollar is buried in the sand, it may still be alive, so leave it there!

Sea cookie sand dollar
“Sea Cookie” Sand Dollar
Sea biscuit sand dollar
Large Sea Biscuit – Buy products with this image.

The keyhole sand dollar below was found on a Florida beach. A woman walked up to me and said, “Here, would you like this sand dollar?” Or something like that. So I said “Sure!” We were both walking near Ponce Inlet at Smyrna Dunes Park.

Florida keyhole sand dollar
Keyhole sand dollar

Sand Dollars For the Home

For the love of sand dollars, decorate a coastal home. My own sand dollar images have been used for the pillows, blanket, and Christmas stocking and ornament below.

All white, real sand dollar image throw pillow.
14” white sand dollar pillow
Natural sand dollar round throw pillow with image on both sides and light blue background.
Natural sand dollar pillow
6” ceramic tile
Sand dollars fleece blanket in shades of blue.
Fleece blankets, 3 sizes
Starfish and sand dollars Christmas stocking with name template.
Double-sided
Sand dollar Christmas ornament with year date in tropical aqua blue.
Customize with year

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