Sponges: A Museum Victoria Field Guide
Julian Finn, Lisa Goudie, Mark Norman
We might think of sponges as bathroom objects but the real living animals are far more interesting. They come in all shapes and sizes, occur in all oceans of the world, and have amazing lives. Sponges have lived in our oceans for 600 million years. Ancient forms even built reefs bigger than the Great Barrier Reef. Today, sponges help clean our oceans, are experts are chemical warfare and can rebuild themselves after being torn apart. Some even live for 2000 years. There is still much to learn about the diversity and biology of sponges in southern Australian waters, with many species still waiting for formal scientific description. This guide introduces naturalists, beachcombers, divers and others to sponge species commonly encountered in southern Australia.
that may be straight, bent, spiralled or spiny. Cliona sp. LG1, Wilsons Promontory. Mark Norman spirasters microxeas microstrongyles amphiasters 107 tylostyles oxeas Spicule types found in sponges of the Order Hadromerida. 37 108 SPONGES 109 Genus Spheciospongia These sponges are massive in growth form with specialised incurrent pore sieve plates. Due to the loss of red light with depth, these sponges appear a deep royal blue in colour, their purple colour only being visible with camera
The sponge pictured takes the form of a thin layer over a large boulder. Protosuberites sp. LG1, Mornington Pier, Port Phillip Bay. Mark Norman 41 116 SPONGES 117 Genus Suberites Three very different growth forms within this genus are depicted here, but all species of Suberites have the characteristic hispid surface. This genus is cosmopolitan but most species are found in cooler temperate waters like those off southern Australia’s coast. The pale yellow to cream-coloured Suberites globosus
LG3 showing budding propagules, Pillar Point, Wilsons Promontory. Julian Finn 45 125 SPONGES 126 Chondrosia sp. LG1. Mark Norman 46 127 Order Chondrosida 128 Family Chondrillidae Sponges in this order all belong to the single family Chondrillidae and may be encrusting to massive in growth form. They are widely distributed and tend to be found in shallow water, often in caves or beneath rocks. They have a smooth appearance and a rubbery texture due to their densely collagenous matrix.
vital water flow. Other animals have developed symbiotic relationships with sponges. In such relationships the sponge may provide camouflage and/or chemical protection in return for being supported or taken to areas of high water flow and food availability. The bodies of some sea tulips, or ascidians, are cloaked in a tight-fitting layer of living sponge (genus Darwinella). The Doughboy Scallop, Mimachlamys asperrima, spends its life with a live coating of sponge, commonly a species of Crella, on
of Sponges (Hooper & Van Soest, 2002). 28 90 About this guide 91 The sponges of south-eastern Australia are a diverse and largely undocumented group. Only some of the more commonly seen sponges are included here, those for which clear, underwater images are available. Our aim is to extend the range as images and samples are collected in the future. Each species is introduced with a short description of the key identifying features of the order to which it belongs. This is followed by a