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Ischnochiton (Haploplax) smaragdinus (Angas, 1867)

Description: Animal ovate, moderately broad, girdle moderately narrow. Median valves with lateral areas slightly raised. Both lateral and pleural area appear smooth without magnification but with high magnification growth lines are apparent. Girdle covered with almost circular, smooth scales, up to 0.30 mm in diameter, smaller towards the edges. Valve colour extremely variable, from black to white with patterning of yellow, blue-green, brown, grey or purple (Fig. 1, 3).

Size: Up to 30 mm in length, usually less than 20 mm.

Distribution: Endemic to Australia. Southern Qld, southwards and around southern Australia to south-western WA, including Tas.

Habitat: Lives under stones in the low intertidal region; sometimes very common.

Comparison: This species is very similar to Ischnochiton lentiginosus in form, but differs in the colour pattern. It never has the blue spots that are always present in I. lentiginosus, but has a variety of colour patterns characteristic of the species.

Fig. 1:  Newport, Sydney, NSW (DLB5595).

Fig. 2:  Newport, Sydney, NSW (DLB5595). Detail of valves 3-6 and girdle

Fig. 3:  Newport, Sydney, NSW (DLB5595) Colour varieties. 


Copyright Des Beechey 2019