A slug-like chiton

November 13, 2009
From: John Markby

Hi there , i am on talking reef forum and it was suggested i ask you as no one knows for sure what this is but the best bet is some type of nudibranch...

mainly i am curious in is if it eats algae or corals or what ? as it is in my home salt water aquarium ... only recently i noticed it its probably been in there about 3 weeks and recently has started moving around alot .. moves alot at night time ....

i appreciate any time spent on this thankyou very much

2 photos enclosed are on at night time (fully stretched out - about 18 cm long at full stretch )

and day time .. it sorta hides in the rock

John Markby


Markby, J., 2009 (Nov 13) A slug-like chiton. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/22778

Dear John,

This is one of a major group of molluscs called the Chitons. In most species their 8 calcareous plates are large and external forming a flexible shield - like that of an armadillo - over the body. In some species the shell plates have become reduced in size and partly enveloped by the leathery skin in which they are attached. These do appear somewhat sluglike. There are other messages on the Forum of this animal being found in aquaria [see message #8502]. I guess this tropical species, which is often found in the crevices of coral rock, is caught up in the 'live rock' trade.

Most chitons are herbivorous, so I suspect it will be a useful cleaning agent in your aquarium.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2009 (Nov 13). Comment on A slug-like chiton by John Markby. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/22778

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