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Ischnochiton (Ischnochiton) versicolor (Sowerby, 1839)

Description: Animal elongate ovate, girdle moderately broad. Median valves with lateral and pleural areas well defined; lateral areas raised, with 3-4 strong ribs divaricating towards the side; pleural areas with dense, curved threads, weak at top becoming strong towards margin. Girdle densely covered with large ridged scales, up to 0.5 mm wide. Colour variable; mostly greenish brown with a symmetrical pattern of whitish streaks on dorsum; some specimens uniformly white, fawn, brown or bluish green, sometimes maculated or splashed with darker colours.

Size: Up to 60 mm in length.

Distribution: Endemic to Australia: Taree, NSW, southwards to Robe, SA.

Habitat: Lives in the low intertidal and shallow subtidal, under rocks and stones and other hard substrates. Common.

Comparison: This species is distinguished by the strong radial ribs on the lateral areas of the valves, and the large scales on the girdle. See Ischnochiton (Ischnochiton) elongatus.

Fig. 1:  Gabo Is., Vic, on rocks at 21 m (C.unreg).

Fig. 2:  a. Shelly Beach, Manly, NSW. (DLB5592). b. Arrawarra, North of Woolgoolga, NSW (C.367958). c. Forster, NSW (C. 367959). d. Murrumbulga, Twofold Bay, NSW (C.367945).

Fig. 3:  Shell sculpture detail, same specimen as Fig. 1

Fig. 4:  Girdle scale detail, same specimen as Fig. 1


Copyright Des Beechey 2019