Giant Gem Chiton (species: Acanthopleura gemmata) in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Acanthopleura gemmata
Giant Gem Chiton

©Anne Hoggett: Acanthopleura gemmata at Lizard Island

©Anne Hoggett: Acanthopleura gemmata at Lizard Island, on same rock as other photographed specimen

©Anne Hoggett: Acanthopleura gemmata about 8 cm long on intertidal dead coral boulder at MacGillivray Reef near Lizard Island.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Mollusca
Class Polyplacophora
Order Chitonida
Family Chitonidae
Genus Acanthopleura
Species Acanthopleura gemmata



Distinguishing features

This is the common large chiton in the Lizard Island area, found clinging tightly to intertidal rocks. Eight broad, slightly arched valves are surrounded by heavy, spiky girdle tissue.


  • Up to 9 cm (Length)



Chitons have received little attention from researchers at Lizard Island and few species are recorded. Mather and Bennett (1993) list numerous species from the southern Great Barrier Reef, some of which are small and inconspicuous. There are certainly more to be discovered at Lizard Island.

by Anne Hoggett


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Web resources


  • Czechura, G. (2013). The Great Barrier Reef: A Queensland Museum Discovery Guide Queensland Museum, Brisbane.
  • Mather, P. and I. Bennett (1993). A Coral Reef Handbook: A guide to the geology, flora and fauna of the Great Barrier Reef Surrey Beatty and Sons Pty Ltd, Chipping Norton NSW. ISBN: 0-949324-47-7.
  • Robertson, R. (1981). List of shell-bearing mollusks observed and collected at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia, Tryonia, 4: 1-32. LIRS catalog number 403.