Mopalia lignosa (Gould, 1846)
|Mopalia lignosa, San Simeon, CA|
|(Photo by: Dave Cowles, 1997)|
How to Distinguish from Similar Species: The hairs are flexible, not stiff and thick as in Mopalia muscosa. Other Mopalias have longer hairs or have tubercles instead of pits on the plates.
Geographical Range:_Prince William Sound, Alaska to Point Conception, CA
Depth Range: Middle and low intertidal
Habitat: Sides or bottoms of large boulders on open coast
Biology/Natural History: This species is usually under rocks, and begins crawling when the rock is turned over. They are the fastest crawling chiton I have seen (are those racing stripes on the plates?) Feeds on many types of algae, especially diatoms and Ulva. Sense light with aesthetes in plates.
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Morris et al., 1980
O'Clair and O'Clair, 1998
Another view of Mopalia lignosa. Note the hairs between the plates. Photo by Dave Cowles, San Simeon, CA 1997