Limpets and Chitons


limpets

Shield Limpet
(Lottia pelta)

      Look for:  Oval shape
                           Central apex
                            Irregular ribbing
                            To 2-1/4" long, 5/8" high
                            Color patterns vary widely
 Comments:  Lifespan of 5–16 years
                            Feeds by scraping algae off rocks

Keyhole Limpet
(Diodora aspera)

     Look for:  Oval shape
                          Circular hole at apex
                          Large ribbing radiates from apex
                          To 2-3/4" long, 5/8" high
                         Grey or white, sometimes with dark lines
                         Shell is often raised higher off rocks than
                             other limpets.
 Comments:  Surface may be obscured by algae.
                            Not a true limpet, but is closely related
                                 to the abalone.
                         


chitons

Lined Chiton
(Tonicella lineata)

        Look for:  Oval shape
                              Smooth, hard girdle
                             Color varies widely: pink, red, white,
                                   purple, orange or brown 
                              Overlapping plates on body have zigzag
                                     lines.
                              Girdle is often splotched with colored
                                      patches.
                                To 2" long              

 Comments:  Often found on rocks in low intertidal.
                            Grazes on encrusting coralline algae.
                            Predators include the ochre sea star.


Woody Chiton
(Mopalia lignosa)

     Look for:  Trough shape
                          Smooth, hard girdle
                          Lacks bristles  
                          Color varies widely: blue, grey, green,
                                brown
                           To 2" long
                        
 Comments:  Often found on rocks in low intertidal.
                            Grazes on encrusting coralline algae.
                            Predators include the ochre sea star.
         

 Northern Hairy Chiton
(Mopalia kennerleyi)
                
     Look for:  Oval Shape
                          Large mantle
                          Hairs are red-brown in color
                          Overlapping plates on body, brown to
                                  olive or grey 
                          To 3-1/2" long
                         Bristles less firm than Mopalia muscosa


                            Mossy Chiton
(Mopalia muscosa)

     Look for:  Oval shape
                          Stout, stiff hairs on girdle that are firm to
                                 the touch
                        Hairs are red-brown 
                        Overlapping plates on body are brown, 
                                olive, or grey 
                        To 3-1/2" long
                        
 Comments:  Often found in tidepools or on top of 
                                    rocks.
                         Active only at night and when submerged
                                     or wet.
 Similar species:  Mopalia muscosa may be mistaken for Mopalia cilata,  the hairy chiton.  It has been determined that Mopalia cilata lives to the south, in California.  The northern species (northern hairy chiton) is Mopalia kennerleyi.


shield limpet

keyhole limpet








lined chiton        photo by Mary Jo Adams 
http://www.beachwatchers.wsu.edu









woody chiton


northern hairy chiton





mossy chiton
Comments