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Plaxiphora albida (Family Mopaliidae)

White Plaxiphora Chiton



The White Plaxiphora Chiton ranges from southern Queensland, around southern Australian shores including New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia to Cockburn Sound, southern Western Australia. (QLD, NSW, VIC, TAS, SA, WA)


The White Plaxiphora Chiton has a large, oval shaped and humped shell. It may grow to 40-100 mm in length and 25-38 mm wide. This is a large chiton. The eight shell valves are beaked on the front edge, and are sculptured with wrinkles. There are eight slits in the anterior (front) valve, while the median (middle) valves have one slit and the posterior (end) valve is calloused. Its shell is often eroded, or the markings are obscured by algal growth. Its girdle is wide and leathery with long bristles, giving it a furry appearance. The girdle is often eroded in larger specimens.

The White Plaxiphora Chiton's shell is dark green to brown, with cream or yellow wavy bars. The beaks of the eight valves may be tipped with white. The girdle is brown with darker bars. The foot of the mollusc is bright red. Inside the chiton plates is bright turquoise blue.

Ecology/Way of Life:

The White Plaxiphora Chiton lives between high and low tides on rocks. It may occur at the highest tide levels on exposed rock surfaces, sometimes where it may only be reached by the highest tides, or the spray of breakers. It grazes on encrusting algae. This chiton shows homing behaviour as it has been observed to the same location after a feeding excursion.

Preferred Image

Interaction with Humans/Threats:


Other Comments:

Blainville first collected the White Plaxiphora Chiton in 1825 at King Island, Bass Strait. This specimen is now held in the Paris Museum.

Further Reading:

Macpherson and Gabriel, 1962, 6

Shepherd and Thomas, 1989, 518

Cotton, 1964, 59

Bennett, I. (1987). W.J. Dakin's classic study: Australian Seashores. p. 261-2, Angus and Robertson.

Cotton, B.C. (1964) South Australian Mollusca: Chitons. P. 59, Government Printer, South Australia.

Davey, K. (1998). A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p. 72, New Holland Press.

Edgar, G.J. (1997). Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. p. 224, Reed.

Macpherson, J.H. and Gabriel, C.J. (1962). Marine Molluscs of Victoria. p. 6, Melbourne Univ. Press.

Marine Research Group of Victoria. (1984). Coastal Invertebrates of Victoria: an atlas of selected species. p. 19, Museum of Victoria.

Shepherd, S.A. and Thomas, I.M. (1989). Marine Invertebrates of Southern Australia. pt. II. p. 518, South Aust. Govt. Press.

Wells, F.E., and Bryce, C.W. (1988), Seashells of Western Australia. p. 32, Western Australian Museum.


Text, map and photograph by Keith Davey.

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Images and Multi-media:  
Attached Image  
image/jpeg 15718 bytes White Plaxiphora Chiton
Distribution Map  
image/gif 982 bytes Distribution of White Plaxiphora Chiton

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