Project Description

It was a great find to see this patterned giant Pacific chiton (Cryptochiton stelleri) hanging upside down on a rock outcrop.  I was intrigued by the stripped design on its sides.  The majority of giant Pacific chitons I’ve seen while diving are usually a solid dark red or brown, so this stripped brown pattern was unusual.  This is the largest chiton in the world, and its eight shell plates (which are usually exposed on other chitons) are completely covered with tissue.  This chiton can grow to fourteen inches (35.5 cm) long, and may live for up to forty years.  Its range includes Japan, and northern Alaska to southern California.