Porifera Lab

Prepared Slides

Grantia: 400x



Spongilla Gemmules: 100x



Commercial Sponge Fibers: 100x

commercial sponge fibers

Euspongia sec: 100x

Euspongia sec

Preserved Specimens


Shell with Boring sponge damage:

Shell with Boring Sponge damage:


Live Specimens

Chicken Liver Sponge?:


Orange Devils Finger Sponge:

Yellow Ball Sponge:

Red Rock Sponge:


Class DemospongiaeDemospongiae is the most diverse class in the phylum Porifera. This class of sponge includes 90% of all species of sponges and has almost 7,000 species worldwide.

Class Calcarea: Calcareous sponges are in the class Calcarea and are part of the phylum Porifera. They are characterized by spicules that are made out of calcium carbonate in the form of calcite or aragonite.

Class Hexactinellida: Hexactinellid sponges have a skeleton made of four or six-pointed siliceous spicules. They are often referred to as glass sponges.

osculum (oscula)This is the large, mouth like opening in sponges that water is expelled from. It is expelled after it goes through the spongocoel.

ostium (ostia): These are a series of tiny pores found all over the sponge that let water into the sponge.

spongocoel (atrium): This is the large, central cavity of sponges. Water enters the spongocoel through the ostia and exits the osculum. The spongocoel can be a simple interior space of the sponge or it can be a complex inner structure with lots of branches.

choanocytes: These are the cells that line the interior of sponges. They contain a central flagellum which is surrounded by a collar of microvilli that are connected by a thin membrane.

aquiferous system: This is a water circulatory system that is found in sponges that are composed of choanoderm, pores and chambers.

pinacocytes: These are flattened cells that contain lots of granules. This makes them capable of contracting which effects the size and structure of the sponge by being able to expand and contract to slightly alter the size of the sponge.

porocytes: These are tubular cells that make up the ostia of the sponge.

mesohyl: What fills the space between the external pinacoderm and the internal choanoderm.

sclerosponges: These sponges have a soft body that covers a hard skeleton that is typically made of either calcium carbonate,aragonite or calcite.

archeocytes: These are totipotent amoeboid cells which are found in sponges. Their functions vary from species to species.

spicules (calcareous, siliceous): Found on  siliceous sponges and are made out of silicon dioxide.

spongin: This is found in the skeleton of many sponges. It is typically either a horny or fibrous substance.

sclerocytes: These are specialised cells that are found in some invertebrates. In sponges they secrete calcareous or siliceous spicules which can be found in the mesohyl layer of sponges.

Spongocyte: This is a cell that secretes spongin fibers in sponges.

Gemmules: These are a dormant cluster of embryonic cells that have a tough coating produced by  freshwater sponges. They are used for development in more favorable conditions.

totipotent:  This is when a single cell has the ability to divide and produce all of the differentiated cells in an organism.

Asconoid: These sponges have the simplest type of organization. They are small and tube shaped. Water enters the sponge through the dermal pores and flows into the atrium.

syconoid: This is the sponge body form with a medium complexity. In these sponges the body wall  becomes folded and the choanocytes are not located along the spongocoel. Instead they are located along radial canals.

leuconoid: This is the largest and most complex type of sponge. They have a thick body wall, and the ostia open into incurrent canals that draw water into the sponge’s body. These incurrent canals open into chambers that are lined with choanocytes.

reaggregation: This is the ability of dissociated sponge cells to be able to comeback together and reform.