Giant Pacific Gumboot Chiton Homepage

Cryptochiton stelleri


Gumboot Chiton plate

  Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

How could a Gumboot Chiton be similar to a butterfly?
Why are these two images side-by-side?
Show me a photograph of a  Giant Gumboot Chiton!
What's the story behind these pictures??
Why would it be called "gumboot"?

See hyperlinks to URLs about Chitons
See hyperlinks to URLs about "Butterfly Town, USA"
Read Wikipedia - Gumboot chiton
Return to Bruce C. Belknap's Coastal Web Weaver Homepage

  The image to the left is a plate (or internal "shell") of a Giant Pacific Gumboot Chiton.  Cryptochiton stelleri is the largest of the chitons, sometimes longer than 12 inches, with a orangish rubbery outer covering, or mantle which is a tough leathery girdle. It has reminded others of the sole of a gum rubber boot.   It is a member of the  mollusk family which includes snails and abalones.
   Occasionally my wife and I find these Gumboot Chiton plates (not "bones") along the Pebble Beach, California coastline during our walks along the beach at low tide.  They are bright white and, when scoured by the sand, are sometimes are as smooth and translucent as fine china. Occasionally a deceased specimen is tossed on shore by waves.

  We seem to  have formed a bond with these eight butterfly-shaped plates, the internal structures of these unique creatures.   To us they could be a symbol of the Monarch butterflies which gather in nearby Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula in California, a town which promotes itself as “Butterfly Town USA”.  During October every year, local school children dress as butterflies and march in an annual parade welcoming the arrival of Monarchs.

  Sharing these specially-shaped plates with our family and friends has become a tactile and visual link between us.

  We hope seeing their similarity to the Monarch butterfly while visiting this website will also leave similar memories with you. -- BCB


& species
** References

         as available from . . . . .

. . . . Internet Sources

Giant Pacific
"Gumboot" Chiton

Cryptochiton stelleri

Giant Gumboot chiton

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Living Species List


Giant Gumboot Chiton
Cryptochiton stelleri

The underside of Crytochiton stelleri, showing the foot, in the center, surrounded by gills and mantle. The mouth is visible above and to the left of the foot.

Wikipedia - Gumboot_chiton

Lined Chiton
Tonicella linea

Lined chiton

Photographs.Courtesy.of Lynn Hansen

Modesto Junior College

Merten's Chiton
Lepidozona mertensii

Photo by Ron Wolf

Hartweg's Chiton
Cynoplax hartwegii

Department of Biological Science at Cal State Fullerton

Black Katy Chiton
Katharina tunicdata

Black Katy chiton

Photographs by Derrick Ditchburn

Hairy Mopalia
Mopilia ciliata

Hairy chiton

City of Edmonds Discovery Program

Mossy Chiton
Mopiloia muscosa

Mossy chiton

Veiled Chiton
Placiphorella velata

Kerry L. Werry --- Photography

Unidentified chitons

Unknown chitons

Star Thrower Educational Multimedia
Dr. Bill Bushing, Harvard

Unidentified chitons

Four chitons

"Man and Mollusc": Visual Shells -
Miscellaneous Classes - Lesson Plans

"These chitons possess a backbone-like structure made up of eight white butterfly shaped plates."

Nuttall's Chiton
Nuttallina californica



Photo by Ron Wolf

Gumboot Chiton
internal plates

 internal plates

Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre's Public Education Programme

** National Audubon Society Nature Guide, PACIFIC COAST, Copyright Chanticleer Press, 1985, Published by Alfred Knop, pages 387-391.


Gumboot Chiton
"Image courtesy of

sketch of gumboots