Alternate Title

Test Damage to the Sand Dollar Mellita tenuis on the Florida Gulf Coast


Disturbance, loss of a part of the body, is an important component of life histories. In contrast to plants, sublethal disturbance is not common in animals. Damage to the test of Mellita is usually attributed to sublethal predation, but hydrodynamics may be a factor. We found test damage to Mellita tenuis on the Florida gulf coast is variable over space and time. Test damage is more frequent in large individuals. This could result from a greater period of time for predation to occur or a decrease in the probability of death from predation. Test damage was variable over space and time, ranging from 0 to >50% of the populations, indicating great variation among locations. Because the test is important in maintenance of position, locomotion, and feeding, damage probably affects the potential for survival, growth, and reproduction.