Spongia Officinalis Descriptive Essay

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Bath Sponge - Spongia officinalis
Tweet Topic Started: Aug 27 2015, 11:26 AM (2,103 Views)
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Bath Sponge - Spongia officinalis



Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Porifera
Class: Demospongiae
Order: Dictyoceratida
Family: Spongiidae
Genus: Spongia
Species: S. officinalis

Spongia officinalis, better known as bath sponge, is a commercially used sponge. It is found throughout the Mediterranean Sea.
It is a hermaphroditic animal and can reproduce asexually by means of budding or through sexual reproduction. When alive, its color is dark grey; upon drying it becomes either yellow or brown. Young larvae swim freely until they attach themselves to the sea floor or other adequate ground. After that, they start growing slowly, as it may take as much as 40 years to grow the size of a baseball.

Harvesting has led to a decrease in population.

Spongia officinalis Linnaeus (1759) is a dark coloured, finely conulose, globular sponge which is very compressible, spongy, elastic. Internally, it is light-coloured. It usually has several oscules on the upper side. It has no spicules, just a jumbled network of yellow spongin fibres. It is a Mediterranean species, recorded also a few times along the Atlantic coasts of Spain.



Description
Growth form massive-lobate, surface finely conulose, single oscules scattered or at the apex of lobes, pre-oscular cavities well evident. Colour in vivo from light grey to black. Ectosomal skeleton as apices of primary fibres joining secondary fibres to form the conical reticulum which supports the conules. Choanosomal skeleton: network dense with irregular polygonal meshes of secondaries joining to form ascending primaries. Primary fibres (50–100 µm in diameter) typically twisted with ornamentations as parallel ridges along the main fibre axis mainly developed and evident towards the surface, cored with sand grains and spicules. Secondaries (20–35 µm in diameter) with ornamentations as parallel ridges along the main fibre axis, twisted and characterised by concentric layers of compact spongin surrounding the compact axial core without inclusions.



Colour: All intermediates between black and white, darker when exposed to direct light, light when growing in the dark.
Shape, size, surface and consistency: (Spongia officinalis large) Globular-massive, quite variable in shape. Size frequently over 10 cm in diameter. Surface quite regular, covered with fine conules of 0.2-0.5 mm high, spaced 1.5-2 mm apart. Oscules few in number, on the upper side, up to 1 cm in diameter. Consistency spongy-elastic, compressible, supple.
Spicules: Absent.
Skeleton: (Spongia officinalis fibres) A system of primary fibres cored by foreign material and uncored secondary fibres.The primary fibres are relatively rare, not differing from the secondary fibres in size, only recognizable by the core of spicule debris and small sand grains. Secondary fibres yellow-brown, 10-35 µm in diameter, and quite irregular in the way they anastomose. In general the reticulation is very dense and meshes are small and irregular.
Choaonocyte chambers: Spherical: 20-30 µm in diameter.
Ecology: On rocks and in caves, sublittoral.
Distribution: Galicia; Mediterranean.
Etymology: officinalis (Latin) = useful for medicinal purpose.

Habitat

Cave, coralligenous community, rocky/detritic/muddy/sandy bottom, lagoon, coralligenous community, Posidonia oceanica meadow. Bathymetric range 1–70 m.



Remarks
This is the finest quality bath sponge in Europe, distinguished from the other species in globular-compact form.
Source: Vacelet, 1959.




Genetic diversity of the imperilled bath sponge Spongia officinalis Linnaeus, 1759 across the Mediterranean Sea: patterns of population differentiation and implications for taxonomy and conservation


Thanos Dailianis, Costas Tsigenopoulos, C. Dounas, Eleni Voultsiadou
Department of Zoology, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece.
Molecular Ecology (Impact Factor: 6.49). 08/2011; 20(18):3757-72. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05222.x
Source: PubMed




ABSTRACT
The Mediterranean bath sponge Spongia officinalis is an iconic species with high socio-economic value and precarious future owing to unregulated harvesting, mortality incidents and lack of established knowledge regarding its ecology. This study aims to assess genetic diversity and population structure of the species at different geographical scales throughout its distribution. For this purpose, 11 locations in the Eastern Mediterranean (Aegean Sea), Western Mediterranean (Provence coast) and the Strait of Gibraltar were sampled; specimens were analysed using partial mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) sequences, along with a set of eight microsatellite loci. According to our results (i) no genetic differentiation exists among the acknowledged Mediterranean morphotypes, and hence, S. officinalis can be viewed as a single, morphologically variable species; (ii) a notable divergence was recorded in the Gibraltar region, indicating the possible existence of a cryptic species; (iii) restriction to gene flow was evidenced between the Aegean Sea and Provence giving two well-defined regional clusters, thus suggesting the existence of a phylogeographic break between the two systems; (iv) low levels of genetic structure, not correlated to geographical distance, were observed inside geographical sectors, implying mechanisms (natural or anthropogenic) that enhance dispersal and gene flow have promoted population connectivity; (v) the genetic diversity of S. officinalis is maintained high in most studied locations despite pressure from harvesting and the influence of devastating epidemics. These findings provide a basis towards the effective conservation and management of the species.

Research Gate

Edited by Taipan, Aug 29 2015, 04:45 PM.

 
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