Low tides are a perfect time to head to the beach for some shell combing. What you may not know is all the shells you see were actually a home of a creature at some point. Hermit Crabs are found in intertidal zone in tide pools. Salvaging their empty shells, Hermit Crabs will carry them on their backs for protection from predators since they have long, soft abdomens. As the Hermit Crab grows larger, they must abandon shells in search for a larger one.
Sand Dollars are also found decorating the beaches in Tofino during the low tides. When living, Sand Dollars are covered in small spines that help protect the them from predators. Sand Dollars live on an angle in current using pedicellaria, tube feet, and spines to catch passing algae in water column. Sand Dollars breathe through a flower shaped organ called a petaloid, if they bury themselves too far into the sand, they will suffocate. Larvae can clone themselves by cutting themselves in half and regenerate two individuals. Juveniles swallow large sand grains for weight to help keep them on the bottom! So make sure to take a second when picking up your beach treasures, you may be taking home more then you had planned!