West Indian Fuzzy Chiton

Two A. granulata in their habitat on a rock.
Photo from Wikipedia
West Indian Fuzzy Chiton
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Polyplacophora

Order: Neoloricata
Family: Chitondae
Genus: Acanthopleura
Species: A. granulata
Scientific name: Acanthopleura Granulata

   The West Indian Fuzzy Chiton is a tropical chiton of medium size (about 2.8 inches in length). As it's common name implies, it is found in the tropical areas of the Caribbean from Florida to Mexico to Panama and also in the West Indies.
   Because of it's coloring and texture this chiton is often not noticed as it appears very similar to the rocks on which it attaches and lives.
   The species has interlocking valves or plates on it's dorsal side surrounded by a mantle, called a girdle, which has numerous spikes and often a few black bands all the way around the outer edge of the plates. When the animal is dislodged from the rock it can curl up like a ball to protect itself. 
Specimen of A. granulata from Barbados. Note the six
intermediate plates and two tail plates (one is hard to see).
Photo from Wikipedia.
   This species feeds primarily at night, scraping off algae from the rocks as it move about.
   Chitons are edible, generally just the foot though. It is also used as bait for fishing.

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