Today we’ll take a look at a creature that may have escaped your notice the last time you went tidepooling. Despite it’s reddish-brown coloring, Gumboot Chitons can blend in among the rocks and brightly colored seaweed. Also known as the “Wandering Meatloaf”, these giant mollusks move slowly in search of their favorite food–algae. Chitons are characterized by the eight interlocking plates that make up their “shell”.
Gumboot Chitons are unusual because they keep these plates hidden under their leathery skin. But that’s not the only thing that makes them special–they are also the largest species of chiton in the world, and can be found from central California to Alaska. The next time you’re out tidepooling, keep an eye out for these colorful creatures!
Photo from Fitzgerald Marine Reserve on Flickr
Wikipedia – Gumboot Chiton