Porifea - Sponges

The Phylum Porifera is in the Kingdom Animalia. Porifera means to bear pores and are commonly known as sponges. Most sponges are marine with 5,000 to 10,000 spp. known. Sponges can not live on land as they need water.

Sponges have no organs or tissue but rather are made up of cells. They have a cellular level of organization. Every cell serves a particular function. The amoebocyte cells are multifunctional. They transport and store food. The skeleton of a sponge is made up of Spicules (glass-like abrasive fibers similar in appearance to fiberglass) and spongin.

Sponges are characterized by the feeding system unique among animals. They have a choanocytes (collar cells) and pore cell shaped like a cylinder. One long flagellum extends from each choanocytes and directs the flow of water to and from the sponge. Tiny pores (ostia) in their outer walls draw water into a cavity called the spongocoel. The water exits through one or more larger openings (oscula). Sponge cells perform a variety of bodily functions and appear to be more independent of each other than are the cells of other animals.

They are sessile creatures meaning they don't move once attached. Sponges can reproduce both asexually and sexually producing both sperm and eggs.

Asexual reproduction is accomplished by fragmentation. The sponge is able to repair damage to itself. It has been said you could take a sponge and blend it in a mixer and pour it out and the sponge would be able to regenerate itself. One piece can grow into a new sponge.

Many sponges are hermaphroditic meaning the can produce both sperm and eggs. Larve are planktonic and can drift away to attach somewhere else and grow into an adult sponge.

Leucetta losangelensis

Leucilla nuttingi

Zonation | Intertidal Pools | Collection Etiquette

Kelp & Algae | Fungi | Porifera | Cnidaria

Mollusca | Echinodermata | Osteichthyes

Tides | References