Mystery Shell

Data: I found this large animal in the Central Coast of California. It was dead on the shore. The animal was approximately 4 inches lateral by 3 inches deep by 9 inches long. Its apparent mouth parts are visible in one of these photographs.

I would appreciate your help in identifying it!


Send Ideas to: Chris


  • ?? A chiton that has lost it's shell...Avril B.

  • No. 6 is Cryptochiton stelleri (Middendorff, 1847), the "Gumboot Chiton". Alive, it can top a foot in length; when preserved the mantle, which covers the smaller shell, shrinks somewhat. The pictured specimen has been rolled around a bit and the mantle has worn. In life it's a deep maroon color, sometimes spotted with turquoise. ...Peggy

  • When touched/collected in the wild they roll up into a tight ball, it' very hard to flatten out after....Rick

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