Comparative allometric variation in intertidal chitons (Polyplacophora: Chitonidae)

Christian M. Ibanez, Roger D. Sepúlveda, Julia D. Sigwart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
320 Downloads (Pure)


Allometry involves the study of the relationship between size and shape of an individual, and in particular, the manner in which shape depends on size. Animals with multi-element skeletons may have differing growth allometries in different parts of the body. Chitons, for example, have eight overlapping shell plates or valves of three distinct types: head (one plate), intermediate (six plates), and tail (one plate). The overall chiton body is ellipsoidal and different species differ in their eccentricity. The aim of this study was to examine overall allometry in size and shape over adult ontogeny, and how these patterns vary among four closely related species of intertidal chitons from Southeastern Pacific Ocean. For each specimen (n = 407), measurements were taken of total body length and the exposed anterio-posterior lengths of the eight shell plates. Multivariate allometry was evaluated by means of a principal component analysis for each species separately, and for the total. The results showed differential allometric growth of specific skeletal elements, which varied among species; however, there was no clear evidence for specific differentiable growth stages. The overall trend among the combined species was for weakly positive allometry of shell plate widths, but isometric growth of total length and width; thus, the lateral proportion of the animal occupied by shell increases over growth and conversely “thinner looking” girdles may be generally indicative of older animals.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date05 Dec 2017
Publication statusEarly online date - 05 Dec 2017


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