Species accounts

Glass-rope sponge

Hyalonema sieboldi

ORDER

Amphidiscosida

FAMILY Hyalonematidae

TAXONOMY

Hyalonema sieboldi Gray, 1835, Japan.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Glass plant; Japanese: Hoshi-gai.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Truncated oval body, 3-6 in (75-155 mm) long by 2.2-6 in (55-155 mm) wide, which is borne on a compact, twisted bundle, 16-26 in (400-650 mm) long, of 200-300 coarse, siliceous root spicules. Flat body top is covered by perforated sieve plate. Spicules are never fused.

DISTRIBUTION

Known only from entrance of Tokyo Bay, Japan. HABITAT

Restricted to soft-bottom habitats; anchored in sediments by long root tuft. No reliable depth record is known.

BEHAVIOR Nothing known.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET Presumably filter feeds.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nothing is known.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

This hexactinellid, the first to be described, is displayed in museums worldwide. ♦

No common name

Monorhaphis chuni

ORDER

Amphidiscosida FAMILY

Monorhaphididae TAXONOMY

Monorhaphis chuni Schulze, 1904, eastern Indian Ocean north of Madagascar.

Monorhaphis

H Neoaulocystis grayi H Hyalonema sieboldi H Monorhaphis chuni

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Cylindrical body, 41 in (105 cm) long and 6 in (15 cm) wide, supported on a single large anchor or basal spicule; the largest siliceous structure formed by any organism (excluding humans), which may reach 9.8 ft (3 m) in length and 0.4 in (10 mm) in width.

DISTRIBUTION

Indo-West Pacific from eastern Africa to New Caledonia. HABITAT

Lives suspended over muddy bottoms on long anchor spicule at depths of 1,604-6,553 ft (489-1,998 m).

BEHAVIOR

Nothing is known.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Presumably filter feeds.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nothing is known.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

Bird's nest sponge

Pheronema carpenteri

ORDER

Amphidiscosida

FAMILY

Pheronematidae

TAXONOMY

Holtenia carpenteri Thomson, 1869, northeastern Atlantic off northern Scotland.

OTHER COMMON NAMES Portuguese: Ninhos de mer.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Ranges in shape from tall and narrow with a deep interior cavity (resembling a barrel), to a squat shape that is broader than it is tall with a shallow depression on top (resembling a cake). Grows to 10 in (25 cm) tall and 8 in (20 cm) wide. Thick, cavernous body wall tapers to single sharp-edged upper opening, which leads to narrow internal atrial cavity. Thin, hairlike siliceous spicules project from annulus around upper third of body and over entire lower third of the body, where they serve as attachment anchors in soft mud. Spicules are never fused.

DISTRIBUTION

Northeastern Atlantic from Iceland to northern Africa, including the Mediterranean Sea. Reports from Brazil and eastern Africa are dubious.

Distribution Pheronema Sponge

H Pheronema carpenteri H Euplectella aspergillum H Rhabdocalyptus dawsoni

HABITAT

On soft, muddy bottoms at depths of 1,007-7,118 ft (307-2,170 m).

BEHAVIOR Nothing is known.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET Presumably filter feeds.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nothing is known.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

The reasons for the surprisingly high population density and biomass of this species at bathyal depths, usually poor in animal abundance, has been a focus of oceanographic research. ♦

Cloud sponge

Aphrocallistes vastus

ORDER Hexactinosida

FAMILY Aphrocallistidae

TAXONOMY

Aphrocallistes vastus Schulze, 1886, Sagami Bay, Japan.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

An expanding hollow cone, usually with mittenlike external projections. Grows to more than 3 ft (1 m). Rigid siliceous skeleton of body wall is 0.4 in (1 cm) thick and composed of honeycomb array of small tubes, 0.25 in (1 mm) in diameter, oriented perpendicular to the surface and passing through the entire body wall.

DISTRIBUTION

Northern Pacific Ocean west to Japan and east to Central America.

HABITAT

Attached by cementation to hard bottom at depths of 16-10,500 ft (5-3,000 m).

BEHAVIOR

Nothing is known.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Filter feeds on bacteria easily visible with normal laboratory microscopes and smaller, microscopically invisible particles (colloids, viruses).

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nothing is known.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

One of few hexactinellids living within scuba range along the coast of British Columbia, Canada, and thus available for in

Glass Sponge Reefs

situ and laboratory study. One of three hexactinellids that build unique living glass sponge reefs, which in 2002 were proposed for designation as marine protected areas by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. ♦

No common name

Farrea occa

ORDER Hexactinosida

FAMILY

Farreidae

TAXONOMY

Farrea occa Bowerbank, 1862, Comoro Islands, Indian Ocean.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Network of thin-walled, branching and fusing tubules, 0.2-0.8 in (0.5-2 cm) in diameter. Skeletal framework of tubule wall consists of single layer of fused six-ray spicules, forming a rectangular lattice. Loose spicules include pin-shaped forms.

DISTRIBUTION

Cosmopolitan between latitudes of 48° north and 35° south. HABITAT

Attached by cementation to hard bottom at depths of 282-6,235 ft (86-1,901 m).

BEHAVIOR Nothing is known.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Presumably filter feeds.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nothing is known.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

One of three hexactinellids that build unique living glass sponge reefs on the coast of British Columbia, Canada, which in 2002 were proposed for designation as marine protected areas by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. ♦

No common name

Neoaulocystis grayi

ORDER

Lychniscosida

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Hemispherical; grows to 4.7 in (12 cm) in diameter. Composed of a network of branching and fusing tubules, 0.10-0.24 in (3-6 mm) in diameter. Skeletal frame of tubule wall consists of two to five layers of six-ray spicules fused into a rigid lattice. Intersections of this framework have 12 supporting struts and are called lantern nodes.

DISTRIBUTION

Gulf of Mexico and West Indies. HABITAT

Attached by cementation to hard bottom at depths of 348-4,536 ft (106-1,383 m).

BEHAVIOR

Nothing is known.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Presumably filter feeds.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nothing is known.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

The first and most well known of the few surviving members of the order Lychniscosida, a once dominant reef-building group during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. ♦

Venus's flower basket

Euplectella aspergillum

ORDER

Lyssacinosida

FAMILY Euplectellidae

TAXONOMY

Euplectella aspergillum Owen, 1841, Philippines. OTHER COMMON NAMES

Spanish: Regadera de filipinas; Norwegian: Venuskurv. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Thin-walled tubular body up to 9.5 in (240 mm) long by 2 in (50 mm) wide, with numerous holes through sides and an upper terminal, colander-like sieve plate. External ridges occur obliquely on the sides and as a circular cuff around edge of sieve plate. Skeletal spicules are fused into rigid network in mature specimens. Attached to soft bottom by root of thin, hairlike glass strands, ending in microscopic anchors.

DISTRIBUTION

Indo-West Pacific from the Philippines to eastern Africa.

FAMILY

Aulocystidae

TAXONOMY

Myliusia grayi Bowerbank, 1869, Saint Vincent, West Indies.

HABITAT

Lives on soft, muddy bottoms at depths of 144-1,520 ft (44-463 m).

BEHAVIOR Nothing is known.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET Presumably filter feeds.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nothing is known.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

In Japan and the Philippines it traditionally is given as a marriage gift symbolizing fidelity, because a pair of crustaceans often live imprisoned inside the hollow sponge. This demand and its desirability as a beautiful curio have supported a Philippine fishery for hundreds of years. ♦

Sharp-lipped boot sponge

Rhabdocalyptus dawsoni

ORDER Lyssacinosida

FAMILY Rossellidae

TAXONOMY

Bathydorus dawsoni Lambe, 1893, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The recent transfer of this species to the genus Adanthascus is not recognized here.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Soft, thick-walled tube, often J shape; grows to more than 33 in (1 m) in length. Has large terminal hole (osculum) that opens into wide, deep atrial cavity. External surface is shaggy, owing to a thick veil of five-ray spicules projecting to 0.4 in (1 cm) fouled by dense community of small animals and bacteria. Attaches to hard bottom by grappling spicules; direct cementation is not reported. Spicules are never fused.

DISTRIBUTION

Northern Pacific Ocean from southern California to the Bering Sea.

HABITAT

Lives at depths of 33-1,433 ft (10-437 m) on rock surfaces and adjacent silt bottoms, to which it presumably falls after detachment from original site.

BEHAVIOR

Stops water pumping for short periods at irregular intervals when undisturbed or immediately when subjected to mechanical or electrical stimulus. Sheds outer spicule veil seasonally.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Captures and presumably digests small algae and bacteria in the laboratory; field study suggests that it captures primarily dissolved organic matter.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Presumed embryos found in adult tissues year-round but are more common in late summer; mature sperm and larvae are unknown.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

This is the most intensely studied hexactinellid, because of its occurrence within scuba range on the coast of British Columbia, Canada, and its high rate of survival in the laboratory. ♦

Resources Books

Reiswig, Henry M. "Class Hexactinellida Schmidt, 1870." In Systema Porifera, A Guide to the Classification of Sponges. Vol. 2, Calcarea, Hexactinellida, Sphinctozoa, Archaeocyatha, Unrecognizable Taxa, and Index of Higher Taxa, edited by John N. A. Hooper and Rob W. M. Van Soest. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2002.

Periodicals

Boury-Esnault, N., S. Efremova, C. Bezac, and J. Vacelet. "Reproduction of a Hexactinellid Sponge: First Description of Gastrulation by Cellular Delamination in the Porifera."

Invertebrate Reproduction and Devevelopment 35, no. 3 (1999): 187-201.

Conway, K. W., M. Krautter, J. V. Barrie, and M. Neuweiler. "Hexactinellid Sponge Reefs on the Canadian Continental Shelf: A Unique 'Living Fossil.'" Geoscience Canada 28, no. 2 (2001): 71-78.

Lawn, I. D., G. O. Mackie, and G. Silver. "Conduction System in a Sponge." Science 211 (1981): 1169-1171.

Leys, Sally P. "The Choanosome of Hexactinellid Sponges" Invertebrate Biology 118 (1999): 221-235.

-. "Cytoskeletal Architecture and Organelle Transport in

Giant Syncytia Formed by Fusion of Hexactinellid Sponge Tissues." Biological Bulletin 188 (1995): 241-254.

Leys, Sally P., and N. R. J. Lauzon. "Hexactinellid Sponge Ecology: Growth Rates and Seasonality in Deep Water Sponges." Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 230 (1998): 111-129.

Leys, Sally P., and G. O. Mackie. "Electrical Recording from a Glass Sponge." Nature 387 (1997): 29-30.

Mackie, G. O., and C. L. Singla. "Studies on Hexactinellid Sponges. I. Histology of Rhabdocalyptus dawsoni (Lambe, 1873)." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 301 (1983): 365-400.

Mackie, G. O., Lawn, I. D., and M. Pavans de Ceccatty. "Studies on Hexactinellid Sponges. II. Excitability, Conduction and Coordination of Responses in Rhabdocalyptus dawsoni (Lambe, 1873)." Philosophical

Resources

Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 301 (1983): 401-418.

Perez, T. "La Rétention de Particules par une Éponge

Hexactinellide, Oopsacas minuta (Leucopsacasidae): Le Rôle du Réticulum." Comptes Rendus de l'Academie des Sciences de Paris 4 (1996): 1-29.

Reiswig, Henry M. "Histology of Hexactinellida (Porifera)."

Colloques Internationaux de Centre Natnional de Recherche Scientifique 291 (1979): 173-180.

Reiswig, Henry M., and G. O. Mackie. "Studies on Hexactinellid Sponges. III. The Taxonomic Status of Hexactinellida within the Porifera." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 301 (1983): 419-428.

Reitner, J., and D. Mehl. "Early Paleozoic Diversification of Sponges: New Data and Evidences." Geologisch-Paläontologische Mitteilungen Innsbrück 20 (1995): 335-347.

Schultz, F. E. "Report on the Hexactinellida Collected by H.M.S. Challenger during the Years 1873-1876." Report on Scientific Research of the Challenger, Zooolgy 21 (1887): 1-513.

-. "On the Structure and Arrangement of the Soft Parts in Euplectella aspergillum." Royal Society of Edinburgh Transactions 29 (1880): 661-673.

Wyeth, R. C., Leys, S. P., and G. O. Mackie. "Use of Sandwich Cultures for the Study of Feeding in the Hexactinellid Sponge Rhabdocalyptus dawsoni (Lambe, 1892)." Acta Zoologica 77, no. 3 (1998): 227-232.

Other

The Sponge Project. "Recent Hexactinellid Sponge Reefs on the Continental Shelf of British Columbia, Canada." April 22, 2003 [June 11, 2003]. <http://www.porifera.org/a7 cifl.htm>.

Sally P. Leys, PhD Henry M. Reiswig, PhD

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