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Key to Irish Chitons
Species Description


Lepidochitona cinerea (Linnaeus, 1767) [back to the Key] | [next] | [previous]
The grey chiton is the most commonly found chiton species in Ireland (and throughout Northern Europe). Animals are found in the low intertidal and specimens can display a wide range of dorsal shell colour.

Length: 12 to 16 mm (up to 25 mm)

Tegmentum colour: a wide range of colours, but generally olive with fine brown patterning. Some specimens can be reddish, brown, or green, with blotches of colour in random patterns.

Sculpture: evenly sculptured all over with granules, forming longitudinal rows towards the side margins.  Adult specimens will have a few concentric growth lines visible.

Girdle: Usually with an alternating pattern of lighter and a darker bars. The girdle is covered with small, scales which are oblong but with rounded ends.  There is a visible marginal fringe of broad spicules.

Bathymetric range:intertidal and sublittoral, down to 70m

Geographic range: Lepidochitona cinera is the most commonly found species in the intertidal.  It is found along all European coasts from Norway to the Mediterranean Sea. It has also been recorded in the southwestern Baltic Sea, in the Black Sea, and on the northern and northwestern coast of Morocco.

Similar species: small specimens may be confused with other species but L. cinerea is the most common species by far on Irish shores.


Taxonomy and Synonymy:

ORDER: Chitonida Thiele, 1909

FAMILY: Tonicellidae Simroth, 1894


Lepidochitona cinerea (Linnaeus, 1767)


List of synonymised names available at:


For more information on this species, see:

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