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Chitons

Conspicuous Chiton
Conspicuous Chiton

Conspicuous Chiton ( Stenoplax conspicua )

These chitons have shell plates that are more regular and straight. The plates appear as light grey with hints of blue color. They can grow quite large. Adults can grow to 3-4 inches in the right conditions. They are typically found under rocks or at the bottom of shallow pits and holes in rocks.
Spiny Chiton
Spiny Chiton Spiny Chiton Spiny Chiton Spiny Chiton are often found at the bottome of small holes in rocks Spiny Chiton Spiny Chiton

Spiny Chiton ( Nuttallina fluxa )

The spiny chiton is the most common chiton in Southern California tide pools. They girdle or fleshy part on the rim of the animal is frequently covered by algae and sometimes will cover the entire animal. Spiny chitons are found in the mid to lower tidal areas that are less exposed to wave action.
Description – Chitons are marine mollusks similar to snails and limpets in that they have a single shell on the top of the animal and a fleshy foot on the bottom. Chitons also have a set of plates that make up the upper portion of the animal whereas limpets and snails have a single shell. Chitons blend very well in the environment and can be hard to see at times.

Feeding – Chitons will move along the rocks grazing on various types of algae. They have a radula similar to other snails that they use to scrape off the algae on rocks. Chitons will feed on a variety of algae including coralline, red and brown algae.

Protection – Chitons rely on their strong shell plates for protection from wave action and predation. They can cling tightly to rocks and survive on wave exposed areas. Common predators include seagulls, sea stars and the occasional lobster.

Ecology – Chitons become more active as the tide increases. They will leave their home and move around scraping algae off rocks. Some chitons have simple eyes they can use to distinguish between light and dark.
Posted in Animals.

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