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Sea creature baffles Bargara beachgoers

Chitons
Bargara resident Shannon Woolacott and her family were baffled when they came across a mollusc type creature in the rock pools at Bargara.

An unusual sea creature was found in a rock pool at Bargara this week by Shannon Woolacott and her family.

The oddly shaped “chiton” is part of the mollusc family and resembles a living fossil.

Shannon said her son spied the mollusc, which has a shell composed of eight separate plates.

“We were just looking at a rock pool and my son came up and asked, ‘what that is’?,” Shannon said.

“There was a gentle poke, but it wasn’t moving so we weren’t sure if it was alive or dead.  

“We started to spot more. There are heaps of them and they’re all different sizes.

“This one was probably 5-6cm, which we thought was fairly decent.

“They’re a bit unusual and weird looking.”

According to the Queensland Museum chitons differ from other molluscs by having an eight-plated shell, held together by a tough band of tissues known as the “girdle”.

All chitons have a reduced head and a large foot and are associated with rock and reef habitats where they graze algae and small invertebrates from the surface.

They seek shelter under rocks or in crevices, especially during low tide to minimise exposure to predators and desiccation.

Initially baffled, Shannon took to Google but it was only on Facebook that she got the closure she needed.   

“My son asked me what it was, and I didn’t know so I took a picture did a bit of a Google but couldn’t find anything,” she said.

“l asked the trusty Bargara Facebookers who were able to answer it for me.”

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