Below are examples of sea urchins and sand dollars I’ve run across and photographed on Pacific Northwest shores. It’s a scant list. Nevertheless, my organization follows Lamb and Hanby (2005). The common names are my choices; unless noted, the photos are from northern Oregon. Experts cover these urchins and sand dollars and more in the guides and online resources at the bottom of this page.
Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, purple sea urchin
Dendraster excentricus, eccentric sand dollar
On the open coast, it’s most common to find bleached shell fragments. Sand dollar beds are mostly subtidal, but some bays have beds that are more or less accessible at low tide.
Gotshall, D. W. 2005. Guide to Marine Invertebrates, Alaska to Baja California. 2nd Edition (Revised). Shoreline Press.
Harbo, R. M. 2011. Whelks to Whales: Coastal Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest. 2nd ed. Harbour Publishing Co.
Kozloff, E. N. 1993. Seashore Life of the Northern Pacific Coast. 3rd ed. University of Washington Press.
Lamb, A. and B. P. Hanby. 2005. Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest. Harbour Publishing.
Sept. J. D. 2019. The New Beachcomber’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest. Harbour Publishing.
Biodiversity of the Central Coast’s Echinoderms page. Accessed May 7, 2023.
Common Sea Life of Southeastern Alaska: A field guide by Aaron Baldwin & Paul Norwood. Accessed May 7, 2023.
Friends of Netarts Bay WEBS Echinoderms page. Accessed May 7, 2023.
Cowles, D. (2005). Strongylocentrotus purpuratus (Stimpson, 1857). Invertebrates of the Salish Sea. Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory. Accessed May 7, 2023.
Cowles, D. (2006). Dendraster excentricus (Eschscholtz, 1831). Invertebrates of the Salish Sea. Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory. Accessed May 7, 2023.
I updated this page on May 7, 2023