Sponges: A Museum Victoria Field Guide

Sponges: A Museum Victoria Field Guide

Julian Finn, Lisa Goudie, Mark Norman

Language: English

Pages: 67

ISBN: 2:00306126

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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.

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described worldwide with about 150 known from Australia, most of which occur in shallow water. Taxonomic identifications within this family are based on microscopic features including regional differences within the skeleton of the sponge and microsclere morphology. Members of this family adopt encrusting, lobate, branching or lamellate (plate-like) habits. Genus Clathria Sponges of the genus Clathria contain one or two categories of styles present at the surface as a continuous brush or

on sponges include sea cucumbers, leatherjackets, boxfishes, pufferfishes and coral reef fishes. These latter include angelfishes, parrotfishes and wrasses. Green, Hawksbill and Leatherback Turtles also feed on sponges. For some species, sponges comprise up to 95 percent of the diet. The cowrie, Zoila friendii, feeding on a sponge, Spheciospongia papillosa. Peter  Clarkson 19 SPONGES A Hawksbill Turtle excavating coral rubble to feed on sponges.  Mark  Norman Biotic associations Sponges

the level of genus. Characters used for identification The process of sorting and identifying sponges is based on a set of taxonomic characters; those visible by eye (growth form, colour, texture, surface appearance, oscule location, size and shape), and those by microscope (spicule types and fibre construction). Descriptive terms and definitions for all of these features may be found in The Thesaurus of Sponge Morphology (Boury-Esnault & Rutzler, 1997). Complete sets of spicule types for each

are usually smooth to the touch, and dense but compressible. Spicules if present are unique to this order and known as calthrops. This order contains only one family, with seven genera, four of which are represented in Australian waters. Family Plakinidae Members of this family are often encrusting over the substrate. They may be tubular and soft without spicules, or massive and firm, with a skeleton of four-rayed calthrops. Genus Oscarella Members of this cosmopolitan genus are characterised

by the absence of a skeleton of any form (either spicular or fibrous) and by the low ratio of volume of collagenous tissue to volume of chambers (approximately 1:1). The tubular species shown here encrusts over boulders. Oscarella sp. LG1 (Julian Finn), with inset picture of external tubular canals (Mark Norman), Portsea Pier, Port Phillip Bay. A calthrops megasclere, unique to the order Homosclerophorida. 33 SPONGES Order Astrophorida Sponges of the five families in this order are

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