Sunday, February 18, 2018

Algae-eating art

"Woody", the chiton in my tank, is bigger and prettier every time I see him.

Woody chiton, Mopalia lignosa

The head end is at the top in this photo; the individual plates point towards the head. These chitons get their name, Woody, or M. lignosa, (Latin: lignum = wood.) from the wood-grain pattern of the plates. (They remind me most of Pacific Northwest First Nations' art work or totem pole figures, because of their shape and the thick lip around each plate. Sample: Tlingit carving, Bear panel.)

On the surrounding mantle, each round white dot supports a short, fattish, cream-coloured hair, visible at lower right in the photo at full size. (Click, click)

He is now a bit over two inches long, about 2/3 his maximum size. The dark red patches are an encrusting algae.

He used to stay on the old moon snail shell, but since I added this slab of sandstone to the tank, he has moved there, taking only the occasional walkabout off-site. He eats the green algae and any diatoms he finds.

1 comment:

  1. They are such an unusual, prehistoric looking critter. - Margy

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