Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Sponges

Sponge Facts:

When you scrub your floors, decorate the wall with paint, or just wash your car, you may be using an organism to do the job.  Many people do not know that sponges are animals.  As a matter of fact, sponges are the simplest of organisms in the animal kingdom.  The aquatic sponges all belong to the phylum Porifera, which means “pore bearers”, and is the only phylum in the animal subkingdom Parazoa.

Sponges are all cold-blooded invertebrates.  Like all animals, they are multicellullar, autotrophic organisms.  Most reproduce sexually (the rest asexually) and give birth to larva that attach to a certain spot and begin to grow in colonies, spreading in shallow, temperate water.

Sponges come in all shapes and forms.  They take water and nutrients in by a system of canals, which they also use to expel waste products.  This canal system works to a degree even after they die, and this is why they are very useful at storing liquid.  Tiny flagellum bring nutrients to the osculum, an opening in the sponge’s body.  A living sponge can regenerate part of its body, which is an ability few animals have.

Sponges were used in the ancient times to store water for drinking and bathing, as some are today.  Now, most “sponges” are really made of synthetic material, so they’re not really sponges.

The “Boring Sponge” belongs in the class Demspongiae, the order Leucettida, and the Family Clionidae.  It’s scientific name is Cliona celadia.  It is a type of sulfer sponge that is found on both U.S. coasts.

That’s about all I can tell you about sponges.  Next time we’ll learn something else.

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