Scaled Chiton – Lepidozona pectinulata
Troglodyte Chiton – Nuttalina fluxa
Mossy Chiton – Mopalia muscosa
Conspicuous Chiton – Stenoplax conspicua
On Scuba San Diego Inc’s dive portion of its “Scuba Adventure”, our adventure divers are treated to encounters with the Mossy and Conspicuous Chitons just about 100% of the time.
They have eight shells on their backs held by leather like structure. These molluscs have an edible foot that they use to suck themselves fast to the rocks they live on. Their shells have been found in in local Indian refuse piles and there is a recipe for Chiton Chowder although collecting enough for a meal would be a wet, time consuming prospect. They have gills on both sides of their foot. There are two rows of teeth on a long radula in the mouth and they use it to scrub plant material form rocks and browse on bits of algae.
When we are conducting the Adventure dive a Mission Point, San Diego, California our dive leaders can find these affixed to the underside of flat rocks and in depressions the occupy on top of rocks. The Conspicuous Chiton is the largest of the four species and most commonly encountered on the rocks at Mission Point or In low intertidal water is where we find them in less than 4 ft (1.1 m.) of water. Their eyes are photosensitive and on turning a rock they are attached to over they immediately start moving away from the light towards the underside of the rock.
They inhabit waters from Santa Barbara County, California to Baja California.