Skip to main content
Select Source:

chiton

chiton (kī´tən), common name for rock-clinging marine mollusks of the class Polyplacophora. Chitons are abundant on rocky coasts throughout most of the world, from the intertidal zone to a depth of about 1,200 ft (400 m). They range in length from 1/2 in. to 12 in. (1.2–30 cm), according to the species, but most are 1 to 3 in. (2.5–7.5 cm) long. The body of a chiton is low and oval; it is covered dorsally by a slightly convex shell consisting of eight linearly arranged overlapping plates. The shell may be dull or brightly colored. Most of the lower surface consists of a broad, flat foot with which the chiton clings to hard surfaces, often so tightly that a sharp instrument is needed to pry it loose. When dislodged, a chiton rolls into a ball. Beneath the shell is the characteristic molluscan mantle, a fleshy outfolding of the body wall. The lower edge of the mantle, called the girdle, extends below the edge of the shell and aids the foot in gripping. The girdle may be very wide and extend upward over the shell; in some species it is smooth or covered with scales, hairs, or spines that give the animal a shaggy appearance. The many gills are arranged in two rows within the mantle, one on either side of the body. The mouth, located on the ventral surface in front of the foot, contains a toothed, tonguelike scraping organ, the radula. Chitons crawl slowly by means of muscular undulations in the foot. Most are herbivorous, feeding on algae scraped from rocks and shells with the radula; some are carnivorous or omnivorous. Most feed at night and shelter under rock ledges by day. Chitons are classified in the phylum Mollusca, class Polyplacophora, order Polyplacophora.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"chiton." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"chiton." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chiton

"chiton." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chiton

chiton

chiton (coat-of-mail shell) Mollusc that lives attached to, or creeping on, rocks along marine shores. Bilaterally symmetrical, its upper surface has eight overlapping shells. Underneath is a large fleshy foot and a degenerate head with mouth, gills and mantle. Length: to 33cm (13in). Class Amphineura; order Polyplacophora; family Chitonidae.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"chiton." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"chiton." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chiton

"chiton." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chiton

chiton

chi·ton / ˈkītn; ˈkīˌtän/ • n. 1. a long woolen tunic worn in ancient Greece. [ORIGIN: from Greek khitōn ‘tunic.’] 2. a marine mollusk (class Polyplacophora) that has an oval flattened body with a shell of overlapping plates.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"chiton." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"chiton." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chiton-0

"chiton." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chiton-0

chitons

chitons See POLYPLACOPHORA.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"chitons." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"chitons." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chitons

"chitons." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chitons

chiton

chitonAgamemnon, Memnon •ninon, xenon •noumenon • Trianon • xoanon •organon • Simenon • Maintenon •crampon, kampong, tampon •Nippon • coupon •Akron, Dacron, macron •electron • natron • Hebron • positron •Heilbronn • micron •boron, moron, oxymoron •neutron • interferon •fleuron, Huron, neuron •Oberon • mellotron • aileron •cyclotron • Percheron • Mitterrand •vigneron • croissant • Maupassant •garçon • Cartier-Bresson • exon •frisson • Oxon • chanson • Tucson •soupçon • Aubusson • Besançon •penchant • torchon • cabochon •Anton, canton, Danton •lepton •piton, Teton •krypton • feuilleton • magneton •chiton •photon, proton •croûton, futon •eschaton • peloton • contretemps •telethon •talkathon, walkathon •Avon • tableau vivant • vol-au-vent

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"chiton." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"chiton." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chiton

"chiton." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chiton