Porifera, or sponges, are multicellular organisms with many pores that filter water. Most sponges live in marine environments, however, some live in brackish environments and about 150 species live in freshwater. Sponges were the first creatures to branch off of the evolutionary tree, which means they are the sister to all other living creatures. Lacking circulatory, digestive, and nervous systems, sponges rely on filtering water unidirectionally to remove wastes from their bodies. Sponges are also immobile species with shapes adapted for the best filtration of water, which rely primarily on filter feeding, however, some species host photosynthesizing microorganisms that provide them with food and oxygen.

How do porifera reproduce?

Porifera are able to reproduce asexually and sexually. Some porifera can reproduce by regenerating themselves once they are broken off either by the water current or predators. In other species the male releases the sperm into the water, and this goes into the female porifera. After fertilization, the larvae are released. They float until they stick to a surface and continue their growth.

What do porifera eat?

Most porifera are filter feeders that eat tiny organic debris, particles, and plankton that they filter from the water. Porifera are not picky and will eat whatever the current from the ocean brings along, ranging from large particles to tiny organisms.

How do porifera move?

Porifera move very slowly, typically less than a millimeter a day. Some porifera may become fixed onto a surface and not move. During reproduction larvae are released and will float in the water, but are not particular in their direction.

Sponges Guides
Browse through our curated Sponges Guides for additional categorizations, tips, details, variations, styles, and histories of Sponges. Guides provide additional insights into the unique properties and shared relationships between elements.
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3.1”-7.1” | 8-18 cm
3.9”-13.8” | 10-35 cm (Diameter)
3.9”-13.8” | 10-35 cm (Diameter)
Bath Sponge
18.000
35.000
35.000
900
3D
Bath Sponge
11.8”-19.7” | 30-50 cm
23.6”-39.4” | 60-100 cm (Diameter)
23.6”-39.4” | 60-100 cm (Diameter)
Boring Sponge
50.000
100.000
100.000
360
3D
Boring Sponge
11.8”-17.7” | 30-45 cm (Cluster)
13.8”-21.7” | 35-55 cm (Cluster)
13.8”-21.7” | 35-55 cm (Cluster)
Freshwater Sponge
45.000
55.000
55.000
2250
3D
Freshwater Sponge
3.3’-8’ | 1-2.44 m
4.9’-6.6’ | 1.5-2 m (Diameter)
4.9’-6.6’ | 1.5-2 m (Diameter)
Giant Barrel Sponge
244.000
200.000
200.000
200
3D
Giant Barrel Sponge
7.9”-11.8” | 20-30 cm
11.8”-39.4” | 30-100 cm (Cluster)
11.8”-39.4” | 30-100 cm (Cluster)
Golden Sponge
30.000
100.000
100.000
150
3D
Golden Sponge
19.7”-47.2” | 50-120 cm
11.8”-39.4” | 30-100 cm (Cluster)
11.8”-39.4” | 30-100 cm (Cluster)
Yellow Tube Sponge
120.000
100.000
100.000
1150
3D
Yellow Tube Sponge
Freshwater Sponge (Spongilla lacustris)
Dimensioned comparison drawing of the Freshwater Sponge compared to other sponges and a person

The Freshwater sponge (Spongilla lacustris) prefers shallow, clear waters, in ponds, lakes, or slow-moving water bodies in Europe, Asia, and North America. This is the most widespread sponge in the inland waters of Europe. This dominance is mostly seen during Winter. Depending on the habitat, the freshwater sponge can be branched, digitated, or encrusting. It produces sexually or asexually and feeds on small organic animals floating in the water. Freshwater sponges can be white or green. These invertebrates attach themselves to streambed rocks and resemble algae. However, it is their soft texture that separates them from algae.

The Freshwater Sponge has an overall cluster diameter between 13.8”-21.7” (35-55 cm) and height of 11.8”-17.7” (30-45 cm). The diameters of the individual stalks are typically between .31”-.47” (.8-1.2 cm).

Set of scaled top and side view drawings of the Freshwater Sponge
The Freshwater sponge (Spongilla lacustris) prefers shallow, clear waters, in ponds, lakes, or slow-moving water bodies in Europe, Asia, and North America. This is the most widespread sponge in the inland waters of Europe. This dominance is mostly seen during Winter.

The Freshwater Sponge has an overall cluster diameter between 13.8”-21.7” (35-55 cm) and height of 11.8”-17.7” (30-45 cm). The diameters of the individual stalks are typically between .31”-.47” (.8-1.2 cm).

Set of scaled top and side view drawings of the Freshwater Sponge
Freshwater Sponge (Spongilla lacustris)
Height:
11.8”-17.7” | 30-45 cm (Cluster)
Width:
13.8”-21.7” | 35-55 cm (Cluster)
Length:
Depth:
13.8”-21.7” | 35-55 cm (Cluster)
Weight:
Area:

Stalk Diameter: .31”-.47” | .8-1.2 cm

Scientific Name
Spongilla lacustris
Lifespan

Drawings include:

Freshwater Sponge top view, side (assorted)

Details & Downloads

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Bath Sponge (Spongia officinalis)
Comparison illustration of the size of a Bath Sponge to other sponge species

On the shallow rocky and sandy surface of the Mediterranean sea is where the ancient Greeks picked the Bath Sponge (Spongia officinalis) either for medicinal purposes or cleaning. It was thought to cure digestive issues and was even used as an absorbent material in surgeries. This commercial sea sponge can be light gray or black and is usually seen in large lobes with small openings. You can also identify it by its elevated and cone-shaped void. It has no spicules and the upper side has several oscules. Individual bath sponges can be male or female or sequential hermaphrodites.

The Bath Sponge has an overall diameter between 3.9”-13.8” (10-35 cm) and height of 3.1”-7.1” (8-18 cm).

Scaled collection of drawings of Bath Sponge in various views
On the shallow rocky and sandy surface of the Mediterranean sea is where the ancient Greeks picked the Bath Sponge (Spongia officinalis) either for medicinal purposes or cleaning. It was thought to cure digestive issues and was even used as an absorbent material in surgeries.

The Bath Sponge has an overall diameter between 3.9”-13.8” (10-35 cm) and height of 3.1”-7.1” (8-18 cm).

Scaled collection of drawings of Bath Sponge in various views
Bath Sponge (Spongia officinalis)
Height:
3.1”-7.1” | 8-18 cm
Width:
3.9”-13.8” | 10-35 cm (Diameter)
Length:
Depth:
3.9”-13.8” | 10-35 cm (Diameter)
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Spongia officinalis
Lifespan

Drawings include:

Bath Sponge top view, side (assorted)

Details & Downloads

Downloads

2D Downloads

3D Downloads

Yellow Tube Sponge (Aplysina fistularis)
Scale illustration of an average Yellow Tube Sponge compared to other sponge species and a person

You can identify a Yellow Tube Sponge (Aplysina fistularis) by its one or more tube-like yellowish or sometimes orange-brown structures. Its color depends on the depth it exists in. The bottom of the tubes are closed, but the tops are open, providing suitable habitat for invertebrates. The tubes can’t move since they are attached to the reef's surface. These sponges lack tissue, unlike other sponges with a glass-like skeleton structure. It reproduces both sexually and asexually. The Yellow tube sponge mostly inhabits the coral reefs of the Caribbean, especially in areas with strong currents.

The Yellow Tube Sponge has an overall cluster diameter between 11.8”-39.4” (30-100 cm) and height of 19.7”-47.2” (50-120 cm). The typical diameters of the individual tubes are in the range of 1.2”-5.9” (3-15 cm).

Set of scaled top and side view drawings of the Yellow Tube Sponge
You can identify a Yellow Tube Sponge (Aplysina fistularis) by its one or more tube-like yellowish or sometimes orange-brown structures. Its color depends on the depth it exists in. The bottom of the tubes are closed, but the tops are open, providing suitable habitat for invertebrates.

The Yellow Tube Sponge has an overall cluster diameter between 11.8”-39.4” (30-100 cm) and height of 19.7”-47.2” (50-120 cm). The typical diameters of the individual tubes are in the range of 1.2”-5.9” (3-15 cm).

Set of scaled top and side view drawings of the Yellow Tube Sponge
Yellow Tube Sponge (Aplysina fistularis)
Height:
19.7”-47.2” | 50-120 cm
Width:
11.8”-39.4” | 30-100 cm (Cluster)
Length:
Depth:
11.8”-39.4” | 30-100 cm (Cluster)
Weight:
Area:

Tube Diameter: 1.2”-5.9” | 3-15 cm

Scientific Name
Aplysina fistularis
Lifespan

Drawings include:

Yellow Tube Sponge top view, side (assorted)

Details & Downloads

Downloads

2D Downloads

3D Downloads

Giant Barrel Sponge (Xestospongia muta)
Dimensioned comparison drawing of the Giant Barrel Sponge compared to other sponges and a person

The best place to find the Giant barrel sponge (Xestospongia muta) is on the Caribbean coral reefs. You can identify it by its brownish-red or brownish-gray barrel-shaped structure with an osculum at the apex. The giant barrel sponge has a hard or stony texture that is rugged, irregular, or rough. This large and firm sponge is a filter feeder and is dioecious. Of all the animals in their environment, the giant barrel sponge has the greatest volume and highest density cover. Besides, it is among the few benthic animals that live long.

The Giant Barrel Sponge has an overall diameter between 4.9’-6.6’ (1.5-2 m) and height of 3.3’-8’ (1-2.44 m).

Scaled collection of drawings of Giant Barrel Sponge in various views
The best place to find the Giant barrel sponge (Xestospongia muta) is on the Caribbean coral reefs. You can identify it by its brownish-red or brownish-gray barrel-shaped structure with an osculum at the apex. The giant barrel sponge has a hard or stony texture that is rugged, irregular, or rough.

The Giant Barrel Sponge has an overall diameter between 4.9’-6.6’ (1.5-2 m) and height of 3.3’-8’ (1-2.44 m).

Scaled collection of drawings of Giant Barrel Sponge in various views
Giant Barrel Sponge (Xestospongia muta)
Height:
3.3’-8’ | 1-2.44 m
Width:
4.9’-6.6’ | 1.5-2 m (Diameter)
Length:
Depth:
4.9’-6.6’ | 1.5-2 m (Diameter)
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Xestospongia muta
Lifespan

Drawings include:

Giant Barrel Sponge top view, side (assorted)

Details & Downloads

Downloads

2D Downloads

3D Downloads

Golden Sponge (Aplysina aerophoba)
Comparison illustration of the size of a Golden Sponge to other sponge species and a person

The Golden Sponge (Aplysina aerophoba) is a tube-forming or encrusting sponge, usually yellow, and found in the shallow areas of the Mediterranean sea and also the eastern Atlantic ocean. It is usually found in sunlit locations, making it easy to separate it from the Yellow sponge. At the center of the flattened end or top are exhalant pores or small oscula. When taken out of the water, it turns dark blue-black. The Golden sponge has a firm and rubbery texture. This sponge is a filter feeder and is also hermaphrodite. It has a massive base, from which irregular tubular digitations erupt.

The Golden Sponge has an overall cluster diameter between 11.8”-39.4” (30-100 cm) and height of 7.9”-11.8” (20-30 cm). The typical diameters of the individual tubes are in the range of 1”-2.4” (2.5-6 cm).

Series of top and side view illustrations of the Golden Sponge
The Golden Sponge (Aplysina aerophoba) is a tube-forming or encrusting sponge, usually yellow, and found in the shallow areas of the Mediterranean sea and also the eastern Atlantic ocean. It is usually found in sunlit locations, making it easy to separate it from the Yellow sponge.

The Golden Sponge has an overall cluster diameter between 11.8”-39.4” (30-100 cm) and height of 7.9”-11.8” (20-30 cm). The typical diameters of the individual tubes are in the range of 1”-2.4” (2.5-6 cm).

Series of top and side view illustrations of the Golden Sponge
Golden Sponge (Aplysina aerophoba)
Height:
7.9”-11.8” | 20-30 cm
Width:
11.8”-39.4” | 30-100 cm (Cluster)
Length:
Depth:
11.8”-39.4” | 30-100 cm (Cluster)
Weight:
Area:

Tube Diameter: 1”-2.4” | 2.5-6 cm

Scientific Name
Aplysina aerophoba
Lifespan

Drawings include:

Golden Sponge top view, side (assorted)

Details & Downloads

Downloads

2D Downloads

3D Downloads

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