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Date:         Sat, 22 May 1999 15:20:33 -0400
Reply-To:     Conchologists of America List <CONCH-L@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU>
Sender:       Conchologists of America List <CONCH-L@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU>
Comments:     RFC822 error: <W> MESSAGE-ID field duplicated. Last occurrence
              was retained.
From:         Betty Jean Piech <bjpiech@DELANET.COM>
Subject:      What's Better Than Epsom Salts for Chitons
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Dear Conch-Lers

Have been having problems with my service provider or I would have written this quite some time ago. If any of you have written me and not received an answer, please rewrite your message. Everything seems to be O.K. now.

Now about chitons. The minute you pry them off a rock they curl up. Don't worry. As soon as you get back to your room do the following:

Take a dish large enough to accommodate your chiton. Use one that has sides. Put your chiton in ( and fill the container with enough saltwater (from the ocean) to cover the specimen and wait.

Sometimes it takes quite a while (an hour or more) and sometimes just a few minutes and the chiton will flatten out on the bottom of your container. When it is completely stretched out, press your finger down on it and with your other hand pick up your container and pour the saltwater out. Still holding the shell in a flattened position, pour an alcohol solution over the animal enough to completely cover it and wait. Do not remove your finger completely until it does not start to recurl when you reduce the pressure. (I take 90% proof alcohol on trips with me. I have found 30% does a very good job so I can dilute it as needed, and I have the equivalent of 3 pints although I have only had to carry one with me.)

Have ready a small board (tongue depressors are great)and some twine Slide the chiton out of the container, place it on the board and using the twine tie securely in place. Leave it on the board until completely dry and it will never recurl. And, except for possibly for slight alcohol odor which disappears in time, there is no smell. Hope it works as well for you and it has for me. I am sure the Epsom Salts works O.K., but it is just one more thing you have to carry, tongue depressors don't take up much room.

I wish you good chiton collecting. I brought two pretty little ones (about 1 inch) home with me from American Samoa but haven't gotten them ID'd yet.

Betty Jean The Tall One


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