Class Polyplacophora

Mollusks in the class Polyplacophora are commonly called chitons and differ from snails in having a shell composed of eight calcareous plates in a row along the dorsum of the animal. Most species are elongate and somewhat flattened, almost appearing wormlike. Chitons incorporate iron into their radular teeth to make them extremely hard and resistant to wear as they graze thin layers of algae from hard substrates. In some areas, grazing with these hard teeth by large numbers of chitons causes significant bioerosion of the underlying rock. In the Marshalls, chitons are mostly very small, scarce, and not well known. Most of our species have not been identified and are known from only one or very few sightings.

chiton sp. 1

chiton sp. 2

chiton sp. 3

chiton sp. 4

chiton sp. 5

chiton sp. 6

chiton sp. 7

chiton sp. 8

chiton sp. 9

chiton sp. 10

chiton sp. 11

chiton sp. 12

Chiton sp. 13

Cryptoplax elioti

Kwajalein Underwater home

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