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Phylum Porifera. The Sponges. Phylum Porifera Overview. Most primitive of the multicellular animals There is some debate if sponges are complex colonial protozans and not metazoans. Sponges Over 7,000 species, approximately 40 species that occur in local waters

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Phylum porifera

Phylum Porifera

The Sponges

Phylum Porifera

Phylum porifera overview
Phylum Porifera Overview

  • Most primitive of the multicellular animals

    • There is some debate if sponges are complex colonial protozans and not metazoans.

  • Sponges

    • Over 7,000 species, approximately 40 species that occur in local waters

    • 2% of all sponges are freshwater, none are terrestrial

Phylum Porifera

Phylum porifera overview1
Phylum Porifera Overview

  • Sponges occur in shallow water habitats and vary widely in size (up to 1m. high) and shape

  • All sponges are sessile filter feeders

Phylum Porifera

Sponge diversity
Sponge Diversity

Erect Rope Sponge

Black-ball sponge

Yellow Tube Sponge

Phylum Porifera

Porifera anatomy
Porifera Anatomy

  • Thin, flat cells, called pinacocytes, line the outer surface of a sponge.

  • Some pinacocytes are specialized into tubelike, contractile porocytes, which regulate water circulation.

  • Below the pinacocyte layer is a jellylike layer called the mesohyl

Phylum Porifera

Porifera anatomy1
Porifera Anatomy

  • Mesenchyme cells move about in the mesohyl and can specialize to other functions including:

    • Reproduction

    • Secreting skeletal elements

    • Transporting and storing food

    • Forming contractile rings around openings in the sponge wall

Phylum Porifera

Collar cells


Collar Cells

  • Choanocytes: (collar cells) act as a pump to bring water into the sponge

  • Create water currents for filter feeding

Phylum Porifera

Sponge support
Sponge Support

  • Collagen is found between the inner canals and chambers

    • Mesohyl

  • Ameboid cells located in the mesohyl, have different roles

    • Archeocytes

    • Sclerocytes

Phylum Porifera

Sponge support1
Sponge Support

Phylum Porifera


  • Collagen is stiffened by adding microscopic mineral accretions or additional protein fibers (spongin) or both.

    • Spicules: skeleton structures, made of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) or silicon dioxide (SiO2).


Phylum Porifera

Sponge types ascon
Sponge Types- Ascon

Phylum Porifera

Sponge types sycon
Sponge Types- Sycon

Phylum Porifera

Sponge types leucon
Sponge Types- Leucon

Phylum Porifera

Porifera reproduction
Porifera Reproduction

  • Asexual budding

  • Regeneration: can regenerate from broken pieces

    • Gemmules- resistant capsules

  • Sexual

    • Usually hermaphroditic (monoecious) with male and female cells scattered throughout the connective tissue

Phylum Porifera

Porifera larvae
Porifera Larvae

  • Neighboring sponges are fertilized by sperm entering through the ostia

    • Ciliated mouth less larvae (parenchymella) is released.


Phylum Porifera

Sponge life cycle
Sponge Life Cycle

Phylum Porifera

Porifera classification
Porifera Classification

  • Phylum Porifera

    • Class Calcarea

    • Class Demospongiae

    • Class Hexactinellida

    • Sclerospongiae is no longer considered a class

Phylum Porifera

Class calcarea
Class Calcarea

  • Have spicules made of calcium carbonate

  • Mostly small in size (<15 cm.), and form irregular masses

  • Never contain spongin, restricted to shallow water, and strictly marine

Phylum Porifera

Class demospongiae most sponges
Class Demospongiae (Most sponges)

  • Have spicules made of silicon dioxide (SiO2) or spongin or a combination of both

  • Most sponges belong to this class (90%)

    • Nearly all are leuconoid body type

  • Mostly found on the continental shelf

  • Spongia spp. (Bath sponge)

Phylum Porifera

Class hexactinellida glass sponges
Class Hexactinellida (Glass sponges)

  • Spicules are made of silica

  • Usually found in deep water on soft substrates in the tropics 200-1,000m.

  • Spicules are six pointed and have a lattice-like structure

  • Cup, vase or urn shape

Euplectella (Deep sea Glass sponge)

Phylum Porifera