Chondrocladia lampadiglobus

Chondrocladia lampadiglobus is a large stalked, carnivorous sponge which is ca. 50 cm high, composed of a rhizoid fixation system, a cylindrical stalk ending in an enlarged, ovoid body from which secondary branches radiate in all directions, each ending in an irregular swelling on preserved specimens or a translucent sphere in living specimens. It was first described in 2006 by Jean Vacelet. Most sponges are composed of spicules, little shards of silica, that provide structure.  In the family of carnivorous sponges, Cladorhizidae (in which Chondrocladia lampadiglobus belongs), some spicules are shaped like hooks. Unsuspecting tiny crustaceans or other animals near the sponge are often caught in the sheets of hooks that line the surface of the Cladorhizid sponges. Once a crustacean is caught, the cells surrounding mobilize, cover, and create a temporary cavity around the crustacean.  Within this cavity the crustacean is digested. 

photo credits: Allen, Chris

Large stalked sponge (Bolosoma sp.) providing a home for a myriad of brittlestars and crustacean associates.

ROVs Deep Discoverer and Seirios are safely back on deck of NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer after being recovered early due to strong currents (safety first!). We’ll be back for one more dive, before heading into port for a few days of rest, and then heading back out again. 

For more images, visit:   NOAA Ocean Explorer

Consider the Sponge

“…a single sponge can filter up to a thousand times its body volume of water in one day. Off the coast of Canada, reefs of glass sponges (so named for their silicate skeletons) can clean more than five hundred vertical feet of overlying water. And, if they take in dirt or toxins, sponges can clear themselves out with a languorous sneeze.”

Ed Yong writes on the often underestimated sponge.

Photograph by Reinhard Dirscherl/Ullstein Bild via Getty

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The Cream Honeycomb Sponge (Holopsamma laminaefavosa) is not as tasty as it sounds.

They’re not honeycomb centres covered in delicious cream, at all. Rather, they’re towers of pale flesh slowly absorbing bacteria that drifts by.

Not to say that you can’t pop over to eastern Australia and nibble on their bacteria infested flesh. Just don’t be fooled by false advertising.

…Images: John Turnbull