Phylum Porifera (Sponges) I. Characteristics




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Phylum Porifera (Sponges)

I. Characteristics

  • 10,000 Species

  • Name means “pore-bearing”

  • Most simple of the Metazoa (Multicellular organisms)

  • Composed of network of cells; no true tissues; some specialized cell function

  • Cells are supported by a network of structures called “spicules”. Shape and chemical composition of these are important in sponge identification

  • Mostly Marine; a few freshwater

  • Sessile (benthic) filter feeders; live mostly in shallow water

  • Many live in association with other organisms Ex: Pistol Shrimp w loggerhead sponge

  • Porous body wall through which water moves

  • Three main body styles:

Asconoid (Tube-like body wall)

Syconoid (convoluted Body style)

Leuconoid (complex body w/ flagellated chambers)

II. Body of Sponges

III. Specialized Cells

IV. Four Classes

  • Class Calcarea

1,3,4 rayed all marine

  • Includes: Leucosolenia (Ascon), Grantia (Sycon)

  • Class Hexactinellida

  • Spicules made of SiO2 (glass sponge)

  • 6-rayed, forms lattice,

  • Urn-shaped; beautiful and rare!

  • Deep water 450-900m

  • Class Demospongiae

  • Largest class, best known

  • Spicules made of spongin (sulfer-protein)

  • Leuconoid construction; some quite large

  • Many house commensalistic forms becomes a “living hotel”

  • Used commercially ----bath sponges

  • Class Sclerospongiae

  • Found in coral reefs (west Indies) only

  • CaCo3 skeletons w/organic fibers

  • Called “coralline sponges”



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