Saturday, August 29, 2009

South Cottesloe Beach - Chitons

I have taken these photos of chitons some time this January- actually in two of them, I wanted to take the photos of sea stars. I found them under rocks during low tide. These chitons surely look more interesting than the dark, grey ones that I usually find clinging to rocks on the beach.

Later, I was fortunate enough to get Leon Altoff's and his colleagues' help to ID these chitons. I have wanted to put these photos up for months but just kept forgetting to do it.

Leon has a fantastic website ( with heaps of photos of marine species, with careful documentation of their family and specific names, distribution, and location where the photos were taken.

Rhyssoplax torrianus (left)

Ischnochiton cariosus

Ischnochiton virgatus next to a sea star

These chitons are so lovely. They are definitely the oens that I want to take some close-up shots of the next time I see them.

Ischnochiton torri (top) and Cryptoplax striata

Ischnochiton torri has a distinctive orange girdle surrounding brown plates with white streaks in the middle. I must get a better shot of it when I can access the rocky shore at South Cottesloe this coming summer.

Cryptoplax striata

According to Leon, this and the one in the last photo are both Cryptoplax striata. Cryptoplax species has very small plates, unlike many other chitons.


glhopman said...

Chitons must be the easiest things to overlook, but they really are some amazing little creatures. I especially like the Rhyssoplax torrianus in the first picture you posted

Tsun-Thai Chai said...

I have this feeling that people tend to overlook not just chitons but also other small marine invertebrates. Many times when someone tells me that he or she is into marine life, it means whales, dolphins, seals, maybe corals, etc. Sometimes I wonder if there are already some small marine invertebrates that have already gone extinct without us even knowing it.