Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


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The Chitonidae is a large family of chitons, found worldwide in tropical to temperate seas, in littoral to shallow sublittoral depths.

The family is characterised by insertion plates with slits on all valves, insertion plate teeth always pectinate, gills holobranchial. Three subfamilies are recognised, all of which occur in Australian waters.

The Chitoninae, the largest of the subfamilies, is found worldwide in tropical to temperate seas. This subfamily is well represented in Australian waters. It contains some of the more common and most colourful Australian species. Chitoninae are characterised by tegmental sculpture from microgranulose to strongly grooved, girdle with imbricating scales, and lack of extra-pigmentary aesthetes.

The Acanthopleurinae comprises a single genus, Acanthopleura, found worldwide but mainly in tropical seas. They are large chitons and are major components of the littoral fauna in many tropical areas. Acanthopleurinae are characterised by having thick, heavy, beaked valves, the presence of extra-pigmentary aesthetes, and girdle with a dense arrangement of spikes, spines or scales. The posterior insertion plate is often reduced to a thick callous without teeth.

The Toniciinae is a small subfamily and is found in temperate to tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Over one third of the recognised species are recorded from Australian waters. Toniciinae are characterised by the tegmental sculpture of nodules, pits and grooves, usually with striking colour patterns on the tegmentum, and presence of numerous extra-pigmentary aesthetes on all valves, girdle with microscopic scales and spicules.


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
12-Feb-2010 (import)