Killer sponges

Sounds kind of like an oxymoron doesn't it? Who knew sponges could be carnivorous? Scientists have described four new species of carnivorous sponges in a newly published article in Zootaxa. Check out this video from the lead author of the study, Lonny Lundsten who is a Senior Research Technician at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute:

Lundsten L, Reiswig HM, Austin WC. Four new species of Cladorhizidae (Porifera, Demospongiae, Poecilosclerida) from the Northeast Pacific. Zootaxa. 3786 (2): 101–123, 2014.

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its spectacular how a sponge can be so full of life and so knowledgeable within the movements with the use of its instinct. how does a sponge get rid of unwanted toxins in it's body?

By Taryn Kotze 04542054 (not verified) on 22 Apr 2014 #permalink

Sponges to me and to I think many of us seem like dead ocean plants, but actually they are very interesting animals. Sponges use very clever and specialized tactics to catch their crustacean pray by engulfing them with their tentacles. then digesting them. Some of these sponges also feed one bacteria and single cell organisms. The sponge Asbestopluma rickettsi eats Chemosynthetic bacteria. It is amazing how these newly found sponges kill and consume their pray.

By Anton Venter (… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2014 #permalink

The recent discovery of these sponges is amazing and the way way they capture their victims.This discovery reminds me of how poisonous plants capture their prey,but I'm still not satisfied on how their conduct their digestion,please assist?

By Mlondolozi Inn… (not verified) on 30 Apr 2014 #permalink

It amazes me how ignorant people can be, give them a celebrity having an affair and everyone knows in 10 minutes or less, but when it comes to anything of actual importance, no one knows and no one cares. There's nothing quite as mysterious as the deep sea, and it's amazing how things have adapted to living in the harsh cold conditions of the high pressure deep. I'm most intrigued in the growth and reproduction of organisms such as sponges, how exactly do they breed?

By u14077362 (not verified) on 30 Apr 2014 #permalink

I was really intrigued while reading the rest of Lonny Lundsten's research. The carnivorous sponges actually have different biological mechanisms for catching prey, even tough they are also just a stationary invertebrate on the bottom of the sea floor like non carnivorous sponges. These carnivorous sponges are tree like and use microscopic hooks,that are located at the ends of tiny hairs that branch out of the sponges, to capture their prey. These sponges also rely on cells carrying special enzymes to break down its prey, because they have no mouth. It's fascinating to know that such complex creatures live on the bottom of our oceans.

By Jana De Jager … (not verified) on 02 May 2014 #permalink

I as a young and upcoming scientist have just been very inspired by this video. At first I thought these Carnivorous sponges could be a part of evolution in some sort of way, but then it was said that these sponges have been around for nearly 200million years. It really makes me wonder what kind of interesting creatures are yet to be discovered.

By Lauren Parsons… (not verified) on 02 May 2014 #permalink

It has been said that we know more about space than we do about our own oceans. What is quite remarkable is that these deep sea creatures do not experience sunlight but instead receive energy from bacteria which receive energy by chemosynthetic processes. This is so different from terrestrial energy exchange. The ocean is filled with new discoveries to be made that have the potential to transform and further develop our understanding of life processes.

By u12116620 (not verified) on 03 May 2014 #permalink

These sponges are truly remarkable in how they can survive in chemosynthetic environments where the oxygen levels are extremely low. I never knew that sponges were carnivorous and it is quite intriguing that their diet consists of small crustacean species, bacteria and single cell organisms. Their diet and adaption to living in extreme conditions could be the reason why these sponges have survived for so many years. Yet there is still a lot to discover in the vast deep seas and I cannot wait to see what other discoveries are yet to come. Just to think if a sponge can survive in these extreme deep sea conditions, what other organisms may lurk in the dark depths of the unknown?

By M.Long 14135401 (not verified) on 04 May 2014 #permalink

The idea that most of our oceans lies undiscovered is both exciting and scary all together.. the possibilities of lifeforms is unimaginable ... the thing that fascinates me most however is that we are constantly looking for ways to discover other planets.... but we only know so much about what goes on on our own planet...

By u14083389 (not verified) on 04 May 2014 #permalink