|Characteristics: Chitons are characterised by their eight calcareous plates that are embedded in their dorsal surface. The Gumboot Chiton is usually dark reddish-brown in colour. The tough girdle that completely overgrows the plates is bristly and leathery in texture. The chiton has a large muscular foot and feeds using the radula.
Diet: Chitons, like limpets, are grazers that feed using their rasping radula. The radula consists of two rows of sharp teeth that function by scraping algae and benthic diatoms off rock surfaces.
Reproduction: Chitons are dioecious, which means there are both male and female chitons. The male releases the sperm into the water as shown in the video above, and it is taken up by the females. Fertilised eggs are shed singly or in gelatinous strings. The eggs develop into trochophore larvae before they metamorphose into the adult chiton form.
Locomotion: Chitons have a broad and flat muscular foot which functions in adhesion as well as locomotion. Chitons move slowly and gradually by waves of muscular activity called 'pedal waves'. The plates fuction to help them attach onto curved surfaces of the rocky intertidal zone.
Predators: The chiton's main predator is the sea star Pisaster ochraceous, which are common on the coasts of Vancouver Island, but rare at Race Rocks and certain species of octopus.
Longevity: Gumboot chitons can live for approximately 20 years and can grow up to 30cm.