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  • José H. Leal

The Chiton and the Whelk

Museum's Senior Aquarist Carly Hulse took this great photo, at our Cold-water Touch Pool, of one of our Lined Chitons (Tonicella lineata) riding a Kellet’s Whelk (Kelletia kelletii). The chiton needs hard substrates to live and feed on, and the whelk’s shell serves that purpose.


Lined Chiton riding a Kellet's Whelk. Photo by Carly Hulse.

Observe the cool color pattern on the whelk’s mantle, the siphon lining the shell’s anterior canal (top right), and the mucus, produced by glands in the foot "sole," that helps with the snail's locomotion. The whelk’s right tentacle is touching the bottom of the aquarium. All mollusks in our Cold-water Touch Pool haul from the West Coast of the US, where the water temperature is in average at least 20-30 degrees F cooler than the water temperature in Southwest Florida!