Movement and reproduction in the chiton Nuttallina californica

The reproductive cycle of Nuttallina californica was studied from September 1985 until August 1986 and its movements from December 1982 until January 1985 at Marina del Rey, California. A method of analyzing histological sections of ovaries for mature oocytes, previously used on Bivalvia and Asteroidea for determining a reproductive cycle, was used on N. californica. The results indicate a probable breeding period between March and July. Movements of this species occurred when it was awash or submerged and the time of day apparently made no difference. Nuttallina californica’s movements indicate it is a homing species since 85% of marked animals either left and returned to the same spot or remained at a spot for at least 24 hours. The chitons showed fidelity to all three major types of home spots: depressions, along side other animals and in the open, with the greatest fidelity being to spots alongside other animals and in depressions.