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Dendraster excentricus Eschscholtz, 1831
Biscuit Sea Urchin; Pacific Sand Dollar; Sea-cake; Western Sand Dollar
Family: Dendrasteridae


© Jim Riley     (Photo ID #15699)


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Distribution of Dendraster excentricus in British Columbia in British Columbia


The Pacific Sand Dollar is a species of flattened burrowing sea urchin that is found in North America along the Pacific Coast, from Alaska south to Baja California (Mexico (Wikipedia 2012). It is the only sand dollar found in British Columbia and has been collected from the Queen Charlottes (Haida Gwai) south. Habitat includes sandy bottoms in bays or open coastal areas, tidal channels, or the low intertidal zone at depths of 40-90 m, but often in shallow areas (Wikipedia 2012). This species may be gray, brown, black or purple in colour, has a five-fold radial symmetry, and a distinguishing flower pattern that is off-centre compared with other species of Dendraster (Wikipedia 2012).

In areas with little water movement, sand dollars will lie flat on the bottom, but in areas of greater water movement and heavy seas, sand dollars are usually buried (Merrill and Hobson 2002). In areas of moderate water movement they will sit in an included position (Merrill and Hobson 2002).

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)

BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

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General References