Studies on the Trinidad Chitons

Sucilla Baboolal, Sharon Johnatty, Zenora Ali


This project began as part of a field course in ecological studies on the rocky shore fauna at Barracuda Point, Balandra, undertaken by undergraduate students in the Department of Zoology, U.W.I., St. Augustine. A study of chiton zonation and behaviour was attempted. We found the animals very abundant but heavily exploited by the inhabitants of this area. From our research however, we realised that the available literature was inadequate: references on Trinidad chitons were limited, and some of the species collected may have been misidentified. As a follow-up to the field course report (Mutunhu, 1978) and with the guidance of Dr. P.R. Bacon, Senior Lecturer in Zoology at U.W.I., St. Augustine, we decided to study these interest· ing animals in greater detail, and subsequently composed the present report. Collection was done at several sites on the north-east, north, and north-west coasts and the specimens were sent for identification by Robert C. Bullock, Associate Professor of Zoology, University of Rhode Island, U.S.A. The number of species identified was unexpectedly large, since previous literature cited only two or three species in Trinidad. This report is only a beginning, since only a few areas were chosen for collection, but it reveals a little of the wealth of our fauna yet to be uncovered.

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