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Acanthopleura granulata

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Acanthopleura granulata
Acanthopleura granulata.jpg
Live individual on a rock in Guadeloupe
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Polyplacophora
Order: Chitonida
Family: Chitonidae
Genus: Acanthopleura
A. granulata
Binomial name
Acanthopleura granulata
(Gmelin, 1791)

Chiton granulatus Gmelin, 1791, Chiton blauneri Shuttleworth, 1856

Acanthopleura granulata, common name the West Indian fuzzy chiton (also known as Curbs or Sea Cradles),[1] is a medium-sized tropical species of chiton. This type of chiton's activity does not depend on spring-neap oscillations leading to lower locomotion loss.[2] Its morphology is different from usual chitons as it has a fifth valve, which is split into halves.[3]

This species is common within its range in the tropical Western Atlantic, but it is often not noticed, because its color and texture are similar to the rocks on which it lives. With not many predators the West Indian fuzzy chiton can live up to 40 years. [1]

In countries that used to be part of the British West Indies, these and other common intertidal chitons are known as "curb"; the foot of the animal is eaten by people and is also used as bait for fishing.

Museum specimen of Acanthopleura granulata from Barbados
Museum specimen of Acanthopleura granulata from Barbados

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This species of chiton grows to be about 7 cm (2.8 in) in length.[4] The girdle is densely spiky and usually has a few black bands.

The surface of the valves (or plates) in this species is almost always heavily eroded in adults, but when not eroded, the valve surface is granulated. The valves are thick and heavy. The morphology of the West Indian Fuzzy Chiton contains a fifth valve, split into two symmetrical half valves that are independent to each other and other valves. A griddle-like tissue splits the valves.[3]

This specific type of chiton displays hundreds of shell eyes ([5]


This chiton occurs from southern Florida to Mexico, south to Panama, and in the West Indies.[4][6]

They orient themselves, maintaining a constant zonal level, according to the exposure to wave action along the coastal shore line. This organization is due to their foraging behavior, which is limited to the nocturnal low tides.[2]

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Florida is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico; Alabama to the northwest; Georgia to the north; the Bahamas and Atlantic Ocean to the east; and the Straits of Florida and Cuba to the south. It is the only state that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. With a population exceeding 21 million, it is the third-most populous state in the nation as of 2020. It spans 65,758 square miles (170,310 km2), ranking 22nd in area among the 50 states. The Miami metropolitan area, anchored by the cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, is the state's largest metropolitan area with a population of 6.138 million, and the state's most-populous city is Jacksonville with a population of 949,611. Florida's other major population centers include Tampa Bay, Orlando, Cape Coral, and the state capital of Tallahassee.



Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Mexico covers 1,972,550 km2, making it the world's 13th-largest country by area; with a population of over 126 million, it is the 10th-most-populous country and has the most Spanish-speakers. Mexico is organized as a federal republic comprising 31 states and Mexico City, its capital. Other major urban areas include Monterrey, Guadalajara, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, and León.



Panama, officially the Republic of Panama, is a transcontinental country spanning the southern part of North America and the northern part of South America. It is bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the south. Its capital and largest city is Panama City, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half the country's 4 million people.

West Indies

West Indies

The West Indies is a subregion of North America, surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, which comprises 13 independent island countries and 18 dependencies in three archipelagos: the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles, and the Lucayan Archipelago.


This species lives on rocks very high in the intertidal zone.[7] It can tolerate a lot of sun. Feeding is primarily nocturnal as there are increased levels of Hsp70, heat shock proteins which protects the organisms from environmental stressors including high temperatures, in the foot muscle under natural night time conditions .[8] During the day, levels decrease again as the stress level protein follows the daily air temperature curve.[9] It feeds on several species of algae.[10]


Source: "Acanthopleura granulata", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, March 5th),

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  1. ^ a b "The Fuzzy Chiton".
  2. ^ a b Focardi, S., & Chelazzi, G. (1990). Ecological determinants of bioeconomics in three intertidal chitons (Acanthopleura spp.). Journal of Animal Ecology, 49(1), 347-362.
  3. ^ a b Kingston, A., Sigwart, J., Chappell, D., & Speiser, D. (2019). Monster or multiplacophoran: A teratological specimen of the chiton Acanthopleura granulata (Mollusca: Polyplacophora) with a valve split into independent and symmetrical halves. Acta Zoologica, Acta Zoologica, 03/18/2019.
  4. ^ a b Malacolog info
  5. ^ Speiser, D., Demartini, D., & Oakley, T. (2014). The shell-eyes of the chiton Acanthopleura granulata (Mollusca, Polyplacophora) use pheomelanin as a screening pigment. Journal of Natural History, 48(45-48), 2899-2911.
  6. ^ Catalogue of life
  7. ^ SeaLifeBase
  8. ^ Schill, R., Gayle, P., Fritz, G., & Köhler, H. (2008). Variability in the diurnal stress protein (Hsp70) cycle in tropical chitons (Acanthopleura granulata) from the intertidal zone: The influence of temperature and photoperiod exposure. Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology, 41(4), 229-239.
  9. ^ Schill, R., Gayle, P., & Köhler, H. (2002). Daily stress protein (hsp70) cycle in chitons ( Acanthopleura granulata Gmelin, 1791) which inhabit the rocky intertidal shoreline in a tropical ecosystem. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part C, 131(3), 253-258.
  10. ^ Glynn, Peter William On the Ecology of the Caribbean Chitons Acanthopleura Granulata Gmelin and Chiton Tuberculatus Linni: Density, Mortality, Feeding, Reproduction, and Growth Smithsonian Libraries
  • Gmelin, J.F., (1791). Caroli a Linné, Systema naturae per regna tria naturae. Editio decima tertia. Leipzig, Germany: 1(6) class 6, Vermes: 3021-3910
  • Abbott, R Tucker (1954). American Seashells. D. Van Nostrand Company Inc. xiv + 541 p. N.York.
  • Warmke, Germaine L. & Abbott, R Tucker. 1961. Caribbean Seashells. Livingston Publishing Company. Narberth. Pennsylvania.
  • Speiser, Daniel I., Douglas J. Eernisse & Sönke Johnsen. 2011. A chiton uses aragonite lenses to form images. Current Biology, 21(8):665-670
  • Rodríguez, G. 1959. “The marine communities of Margarita Island, Venezuela”. Bulletin of Marine Science of the Gulf and Caribbean, Coral Gables, FL, 9(3): 237-280
  • Daniel I. Speiser, Daniel G. DeMartini & Todd H. Oakleya The shell-eyes of the chiton Acanthopleura granulata (Mollusca, Polyplacophora) use pheomelanin as a screening pigment
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