Six keyhole sand dollar

Leodia sexiesperforata

ORDER Scutellina

FAMILY

Mellitidae

TAXONOMY

Leodia sexiesperforata Leske, 1778.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Sand dollar.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Thin and flattened disc with six characteristic slot-like holes and distinctive pentaradiate or petal-like pattern tube feet on upper surface. Diameter is up to 3.9 in (10 cm). Yellow to light brown in color.

DISTRIBUTION

Occurs along coastal waters of the western Atlantic from North Carolina to Uruguay. Subtidally to a depth of 200 ft (60 m).

HABITAT

Commonly found inhabiting open sandy areas clear of algae.

BEHAVIOR

Burrows vertically into sand to several inches (centimeters) below surface. Species is host to the crab, Dissodactylus crinitichelis.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds on organic particles such as algae and detritus. Uses mucus strands to collected food. Known predators include the triggerfish (Balistes capriscus) and helmet conch (Cassis tuberosa).

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Sexual reproduction; spawning tends to occur during rainy season between late summer and autumn.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Collected by beachcombers for their aesthetic value. ♦

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