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Snakeskin Chiton

Sypharochiton pelliserpentis


A mollusc with a flattened body and eight distinctive overlapping plates that protect them from predators and crashing waves. This chiton was grey-green in colour, about 63 mm x 35 mm. The girdle encircling the plates had a snake-skin like appearance giving it the common name "snakeskin chiton".


These chitons were found attached to the side of a rock in an intertidal rocky shore (Cape Conran) off the south coast of Victoria facing the Bass Strait.
Occurrence record:


This species is said to prefer rock surfaces in the mid-tide region, rather than under rocks in lower -or sub-tidal zones. They adhere fast to rock surfaces by their mucus-secreting foot and are difficult to dislodge. Chitons have radulas , which are raspy tongues, with which they scrape off algae.
Australia has about 150 species of chiton and about 90% are endemic to Australia.
Family: Chitonidae

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Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 2 years ago

I agree Hema and the variety is simply marvellous.

Hema 2 years ago

This is so beautiful! Why does nature decide to design things a certain way will always be a mystery!

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 3 years ago

Wow.. congrats.

LeanneGardner 3 years ago

Congratulations Leuba

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 3 years ago

Thank you so much Daniele & Antonio. 2 SOTDs from just this trip to Sydney - makes me so happy!. They were both spectacular creatures.

I've never seen live chiton before and in situ - I think I screamed out to Mark for about 5 mins - he was miles away. Fortunately there was no one else on the beach. They are amazing ( especially the girdle) and so out of this world.
Thanks again for the SOTD.

Great find Leuba,fantastic creature,congrats on the well deserved SOTD and thanks for sharing

DanielePralong 3 years ago

Congratulations Leuba, your Snakeskin Chiton is our Spotting of the Day:

"t looks as if taken straight from the set of the movie "Alien"! This Snakeskin Chiton (Sypharochiton pelliserpentis) is our Spotting of the Day. Chitons are marine mollusks in the class Polyplacophora, and are made of eight separate shell plates articulated with one another. The plates are surrounded by a flexible structure known as girdle, the details of which can help identify the chiton. The surface of Sypharochiton pelliserpentis resembles the overlaying scales of snakeskin. Chitons are found worldwide, and attach themselves to rock surfaces".



maplemoth662 3 years ago

Two, very interesting photos....

Leuba Ridgway
Spotted by
Leuba Ridgway

Victoria, Australia

Spotted on Mar 22, 2018
Submitted on Mar 24, 2018

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