Sponge Guide

UNCW National Science Foundation Valdosta State University Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Observed Characteristics:


  • gray
  • pink-lilac


  • fan
  • vase


  • tough

Sample Locations:

  • Bahamas
  • Martinique

Niphates caribica

Notes: Originally placed under genus Cribrochalina, and later under Amphimedon (see Lehnert & van Soest, 1996). Also named Cribrochalina spiculosa (Dendy, 1890) (see van Soest, 1980). Gray to purplish, irregular fans, firmy compresible but difficult to cut. Skeleton as a reticulation of spicule tracts embedded in spongin, ending at the surface in a paratangential reticulation with spicule brushes. Spicules hastate oxea with slightly telescopic ends, 125-240 x 3.7-6.3 µm. It has the same spicules and similar skeletal arrangement of Niphates digitalis (Lamarck, 1815) and Niphates amorpha Wiedenmayer, 1977 (both pictured here). In fact, one can envision a gradation from encrusting forms (N. amorpha) to irregular fans (N. caribica). Also, there are thin, partly closed inverted-cone specimens of N. digitalis which may be easily confused with N. caribica open fans. Perhaps the characteristically spined rim of N. digitalis<(i>, vs. a smoother one of N. caribica help telling them apart. Where we saw them together, N. caribica was purplish and smooth and N. digitalis was gray and more spiny. The most recently published report (Lehnert & van Soest, 1996) and the World Porifera Database place this species under Amphimedon, but our observations of freshly collected specimens cleary show them as Niphates.

Author Reference: (Pulitzer-Finali, 1986)


Link: World Porifera Database