SPONGES ON THE REEF: A COLOURFUL MISCELLANY
It’s time to take an up-close look at some of the sponges you may find as you snorkel or scuba round the reefs of the Bahamas. I am always amazed by how bright and colourful they are, and by their many different shapes and sizes. Even the unpromising sounding (slightly medical, even?) BROWN TUBE SPONGE turns out to be fascinating to examine closely. Here are some more sponge species.
STOVE PIPE SPONGE
PURPLE VASE SPONGE
BRANCHING TUBE SPONGE WITH ROPE SPONGE
PURPLE TUBE SPONGE
PURPLE SPONGE WITH GIANT ANEMONE
The above sponges represent a fraction of the sponge varieties found on Bahamas reefs. I’ll post some more quite soon. All this has made me want to go for a snorkel. But right now I am 30 miles from the sea. And I have no gear…
HANG ON A MOMENT! WHAT IS A SPONGE WHEN IT’S AT HOME?
It’s really very simple: if you are ever asked the question, just reply “a sponge is a primitive sedentary aquatic invertebrate with a soft porous body that is typically supported by a framework of fibres or calcareous or glassy spicules. Sponges draw in a current of water to extract nutrients and oxygen”.
AND WHAT, PRAY, IS A SPICULE?
You’re having a laugh… if you seriously want to know, read the abbreviated version about them HERE. And admire this microscopic collage of ‘demospongiae spicule diversity’ made available by the wonders of Wiki and the research of about 20 credited scientists.
All photos: Melinda Riger, Grand Bahama Scuba. Tip of the hat to Wiki and scientists