Comprehensive Description

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 Acanthochitona crinita is an oval shaped chiton with a flattened elongate body up to 3.4 cm long. The body is protected by a shell composed of eight interlocked transverse, coarsely keeled plates or valves. These can vary in colouration and combination from off-white, yellowish-brown, olive-green, pinkish or marbled. This species has a white v-shaped area in the centre of the valves. The shell valves possess notches, with five typically on the anterior margin of the head valve. The intermediate valves are short and wing-like, whereas the tail valve is small and oval. Each of the shell plates/valves are covered with irregularly distributed tubercles of various sizes.  

The broad girdle is fringed with 18-20 dense tufts of colourless bristles, four surrounding the head valve and two at each valve intersection. There are short spines and randomly distributed curves spines that also cover the remainder of the girdle. In the posterior region of the mantle groove there are 10-15 pairs of gills.

'Coat-of-mail' shells get they're name from the armoured appearance of the valves like links in chain mail. These eight valves allow Acanthochitona crinita to bend and tightly cling onto uneven rock surfaces. When dislodged, they roll up like woodlice.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

©  The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Source: Marine Life Information Network

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