An illustrated key to the Chitons (Polyplacophora) (Gulf of Alaska south to the Oregonian Province) is now available on E-Fauna BC. Compiled by marine invertebrate specialist Aaron Baldwin, and using photos, this illustrated key provides identification assistance for common species of chitons found in this region.
In his introduction to the key, Baldwin provides insight into the life of chitons: "Intertidal chitons tend to remain under rocks during the daytime but become active at
night. This is especially true for those species that occur in warmer climes. Amazingly,
chitons have “eyes” on the tops of their shells. Some chitons have as many as 11,000 tiny
little light receptors! It is possible that they use these to tell day from night. It is also
likely that they are used in a fashion similar to the eyes of sea stars for detecting shadows
passing over them so that they can clamp tightly to the substrate."
Aaron is the marine invertebrate editor for E-Fauna BC and a fisheries biologist with the Alaskan Department of Fish and Game.
Read more about Aaron here.