FROM THE CRADLE TO THE TOMB – ACCOMPANYING A CARIBBEAN SAND DOLLAR THROUGH ITS LIFE
Change in predatory pressure can be observed during sand dollar ontogeny. Dead denuded juvenile individuals were often found in high numbers lying directly on the sediment surface and mostly lacked any predatory traces which can result from crushing and drilling predation. Sub-adult and adult tests from the same area, however, often showed distinct crushing patterns which can be interpreted as fish predation. Juvenile tests also rarely feature predatory drillholes as produced by snails which can also be seen in larger individuals. 76 % of the tests larger than 3 cm show predatory drillholes, 50 % of the tests larger than 3 cm additionally show healed predatory activity on the test margins, produced by either fish or crab predation. Echinoids can suffer and survive a variety of these non-lethal predatory attacks. Predatory drillholes, however, never showed any evidence of healing and even unfinished drillholes can lead to the death of the individual.