The chiton is well-designed for its habitat and diet. The low, curved shape of the chiton and its strong foot help it stay attached to rocks even in the heaviest of seas. The chiton’s mouth has a tongue-like structure called a radula, which has numerous rows of about 17 teeth each. The teeth are coated with magnetite, a mineral that hardens the teeth. The radula is used to scrape microscopic algae off the substratum.
CLASS: Polyplacophora (chitons)
ORDER: Neoloricata (chitons)
FAMILY: Almost 1000 species in seven families
Size: 2–13 in (5–33 cm)
Diet: Algae, diatoms, bacteria
Habitat: Along seashores worldwide; most common in cooler waters