Sponges | Porifera

Sponges | Porifera

Description
Description

Sponges, belonging to the phylum Porifera, are simple, sessile animals residing primarily in marine environments, though some freshwater species exist. They are among the oldest creatures, with a fossil record stretching back around 600 million years. Sponges lack true tissues and organs, instead consisting of a porous body made up of specialized cells that enable them to filter nutrients from water.

They exhibit a remarkable diversity in color, shape, and size. Found from shallow coastal waters to the deep sea, sponges play a crucial ecological role by filtering water and providing habitats for various marine species, contributing to the complexity and productivity of oceanic ecosystems.

Anatomy
Anatomy

Sponges are simple aquatic creatures with a unique anatomy. They lack true tissues and organs and instead have a porous body made of cells called choanocytes, which help them filter food particles from the water. Sponges have an internal skeleton made of spicules or spongin fibers, providing structural support. They don't move; they're sessile, firmly attached to surfaces in their marine or freshwater habitats. Sponges don't have nervous, digestive, or circulatory systems and thus lack senses and the ability to speak. They rely on the constant flow of water through their bodies to obtain nutrients and oxygen and to remove waste.

Human Interaction
Human Interaction

Humans have a multifaceted relationship with sponges, marked by both utility and scientific curiosity. For centuries, natural sea sponges have been harvested for their absorbent properties, serving as cleaning tools and personal hygiene products. In pop culture, the most famous sponge is SpongeBob SquarePants, an animated character who lives under the sea. Scientifically, sponges are studied for their remarkable regenerative abilities and unique cellular structure.

Conservation efforts are crucial, as sponges play a vital role in marine ecosystems by filtering water and providing habitats for other organisms. Protecting them ensures the health of our oceans and the continuity of their benefits to humanity.

Common Questions
Common Questions
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.

Animals

* Under Development *

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
GUIDE
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
GUIDE
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
GUIDE
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
GUIDE
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
GUIDE
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
GUIDE
3D
Yellow Tube Sponge
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)

Downloads

2D Downloads

3D Downloads

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)

Downloads

2D Downloads

3D Downloads

Boring Sponge (Cliona celata)
Scale illustration of an average Boring Sponge compared to other sponge species and a person

The Boring Sponge (Cliona celata) is found worldwide but abundant in southern New England and the western Atlantic Ocean. It is commonly found around lagoons and coral reefs. It has a tendency of breaking down and creating holes in mollusks or shells or shelled creatures. As a result, they are featureless and seen as lumps at the bottom of a hole. It can be yellow or orange with a thick, encrusting form and small pores. Its ability to take host on shells makes them a great danger to shellfish farming. This sponge is a filter feeder, and like most sponges, reproduced both sexually and asexually.

The Boring Sponge has an overall diameter between 23.6”-39.4” (60-100 cm) and height of 11.8”-19.7” (30-50 cm).

Series of top and side view illustrations of the Boring Sponge
The Boring Sponge (Cliona celata) is found worldwide but abundant in southern New England and the western Atlantic Ocean. It is commonly found around lagoons and coral reefs. It has a tendency of breaking down and creating holes in mollusks or shells or shelled creatures.

The Boring Sponge has an overall diameter between 23.6”-39.4” (60-100 cm) and height of 11.8”-19.7” (30-50 cm).

Series of top and side view illustrations of the Boring Sponge
Boring Sponge (Cliona celata)
Height:
11.8”-19.7” | 30-50 cm
Width:
23.6”-39.4” | 60-100 cm (Diameter)
Length:
Depth:
23.6”-39.4” | 60-100 cm (Diameter)
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Cliona celata
Lifespan

Drawings include:

Boring Sponge top view, side (assorted)

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)

Downloads

2D Downloads

3D Downloads

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)

Downloads

2D Downloads

3D Downloads