Chitin in Sea Anemone Shells

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Science  08 Jul 1983:
Vol. 221, Issue 4606, pp. 157-159
DOI: 10.1126/science.221.4606.157


Chitin, which is widely distributed among life forms, is well documented in the coelenterate class Hydrozoa and is contained in one member of class Scyphozoa. In class Anthozoa, hard corals synthesize it but soft corals do not. Chitin was identified by infrared spectrophotometry in the trochoid shell of the actinian Stylobates. It constitutes 1.7 percent of the shell by weight, the rest probably being protein. The ability of sea anemones to synthesize chitin is there by confirmed.