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

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 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.

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
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.
Grantia Spicules
Grantia sp.; cross section showing spicules, 400x.
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 4 January 2012 by Udo M. Savalli ()
Images and text Udo M. Savalli. All rights reserved.