Let’s Curl Up Together

Chitons like Tonicella lineata are a special kind of marine mollusc. Instead of a spiral shell like many snails, chitons have eight shell plates that allow them to curl up in a ball. They might seem shy at first, but chitons are ready to roll!

Click through the gallery and links to find the perfect chiton cuddle buddy for you.

Dive Deeper into Your Date with the Sea:

Cuddly Chitons and More

From research on chiton taxonomic relationships to the special shape of limpets, research happening in the Malacology section of the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt is surely making waves!

More Marine Molluscs

Can’t get enough? There’s more to see! Check out more swoon-worthy species at the Marinvert website.

Chiton Stripe Tease

Tonicella lineata is an especially beautiful chiton due to its stiking colors and stripes. Research from Senckenberg’s Prof. Dr. Julia Sigwart on this chiton’s special patterning reveals that chiton patterns are unique at the individual level, in the same way as other natural patterns, from snowflakes to zebras.

The Chiton Curl

The fact that chitons can curl into a ball, does make them seem very  cuddly. But why to chitons actually roll up? This answer and more can be found in a New York Times article that interviews Senckenberg’s Prof. Dr. Julia Sigwart.


At the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt, PhD student, Kasia Voncina, is researching these cuddly chitons, looking into the relationships between different species of these marvelous molluscs. Check out this research and more in our list of publications.

More Species To Love