BIO 385 Invertebrate Zoology
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Invertebrate Diversity
Phylum Porifera Sponges

Poriferan Characteristics

  • Multicellular, but lack true tissues
  • Asymmetrical or radial symmetry
  • Adults sessile suspension feeders
  • Internal skeleton composed of spicules (calcium carbonate or silicon dioxide) or collagen fibers
Scypha Spicules
Sponge spicules (Scypha sp.)
Sponge Fibers
Commercial sponge collagen fibers (Spongin)

Class Desmospongia


  • Includes majority of sponges
  • Spicules composed of silicon dioxide or replaced by spongin (collagen network)
  • Nearly all have leuconoid grade of construction
  • Diverse marine and fresh water habitats
Fire Sponge
Fire Sponge, Tedania ignis, Belize
Red Encrusting Sponge
Red Encrusting Sponge, Ophlitaspongia pennata; Cabrillo N.M., CA
Red Ball Sponge
Red Ball Sponge, Psuedaxinella lunaecharta
Red Sponge
Red Sponge, probably Plocamia karykina; La Jolla, CA
Red Volcano Sponge
Red Volcano Sponge, Acarnus erithacus
Puffball Sponge
Orange Puffball Sponge, Tethya aurantia
Nipple Sponge
Aggregated Nipple Sponge, Polymastia sp.
Haliclona Sponge
Blue Sponge, Haliclona sp.?
Unidentified Sponge
Unidentified Sponge

Class Calcarea


  • Spicules composed of calcium carbonate
  • Spicules not usually differentiated into mega- vs microscleres
  • Includes species with Asconoid, Synconoid, and Leuconoid body forms
  • Marine
Scypha Sponge
Scypha sp., a synconoid-type sponge; preserved specimen.
Leucosolenia Sponge
Leucosolenia sp., an ascanoid-type sponge; stained whole mount.
Spaghetti Sponge
Spaghetti Sponge, possibly Leucosolenia sp.; La Jolla, CA
Ball Sponges
Ball Sponges, Leucandra sp.?
Scypha LS
Scypha sp.; stained longitutinal section, 100x.
See also labeled photo.
Grantia CS
Grantia sp.; stained cross section (related to Scypha), 100x.
See also labeled photo.

Class Hexactinellida


  • Glass Sponges
  • Spicules composed of silicon dioxide, 6-rayed; complex skeletons
  • Radially symmetric
  • Syconoid and leuconoid body forms
  • Lacks outer pinacoderm layer
  • Deep water marine
Venus Flower Basket
Venus' Flower Basket, Euplectella sp., skeleton.
White Ruffle Sponge
Skeleton of White Ruffle Sponge, Farrea occa?
This page last updated 1 January 2017 by Udo M. Savalli ()
Images and text Udo M. Savalli. All rights reserved.