As I was walking along the beach a few days ago I noticed this beautiful and intact sand dollar that had just washed up.
Sand dollars are a type of flattened, burrowing sea urchins in the phylum of Echinodermata and order of Clypeasteroida. When alive they are covered in silky hairs called cilia. Sand dollars are fairly closely related to starfish.
Sand dollars are rather common on our beaches. "The Legend of the Sand Dollar," which pairs various features of this echinoderm with the Easter story, is often sold along with sand dollars in coastal gift shops.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Water Tank Caper. This is the link: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032117.htm.