Sponge Guide

UNCW National Science Foundation Valdosta State University Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Observed Characteristics:


  • gray
  • yellow
  • green
  • cream
  • cinnamon-tan


  • branching
  • lobate
  • massive
  • tube


  • soft
  • tough

Sample Locations:

  • Bahamas
  • United States

Smenospongia aurea

Notes: Massive, often forming groups of adjacent oscular mounds or volcanos, which may become repent or erect branches. It becomes dark and exudes abundant mucus when handled. Quite variable in color, often among localities; it more usually has a drab to brown skin and yellow oscules and yellow flesh, but it may be entirely. Two pecies are common and readily distinguished in the Caribbean, often co-existing: S. aurea and S. conulosa Pulitzer-Finali, 1986, also pictured here. It is distinguished from S. conulosa by the honeycomb pattern of the dermis resting on fibers while in S. conulosa the primary fibers ends at the surface form blunt projections not connected to each other. A possibly third species, vivid parrot green in color is also included in this catalogue, together with a cryptic deep-reef “black-massive” morphotype. There is considerable taxonomic confusion regarding S. aurea, with many names still available, which persist owing to the similarities and differences among fixed, type specimens. Older names that may fit into this species are those of Duchassaing & Michelotti (1864, S. musicalisS. cerebriformis), and also younger S. echina (de Laubenfels, 1934) and S. ramosa Sandes & Pinheiro, 2014.

Author Reference: (Hyatt, 1875)


Link: World Porifera Database