Sponge Guide

UNCW National Science Foundation Valdosta State University Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Observed Characteristics:


  • orange
  • orange-yellow


  • branching
  • bushy


  • tough

Sample Locations:

  • Bahamas
  • Colombia

Ptilocaulis marquezii

Description: Erect, cylindrical branches, single or divided, up to about 25-30 cm high and 1-2 cm thick. Surface composed of thin, semi horizontal lamellae. Oscules not visible. Color orange. Consistency tough, difficult to tear; branches elastic. Skeleton as ascending, diverging and converging spongin fibers cored by plumose tracts of 1-7 spicules, up to 150 µm apart, interconnected by fibers cored by 1-3 spicules, forming a reticulation of 20-100 µm thick fibers and 80-150 µm meshes. Spicules are curved oxea with a thick central canal and irregularly rugose ends, often asymmetric, being in the Bahamas 170-220 µm long by 5.5-9.3 µm thick; developmental stages thin (up to 2.2 µm) with rugose ends. At Santa Marta, Colombia, spicules have less rugose ends and reach larger sizes (120-499 x 3.3-22.8 µm), and there are a few long styles, 494-620 x 0.5-15.2 µm (Zea, 1987), which we did not find in the material examined from the Bahamas.

Notes: This species lives in exposed substrata in deep reefs. It can be confused with Ptilocaulis walpersii (Duch. & Mich., 1864), a species much more common in reefs. P. walpersii is usually more scarlet red, and has the surface projections more spinous, round and blunt. They can be distinguished by the spicules (styles and strongyle modifications in P. walpersii, oxea in P. marquezii). This species can also be confused in the field with Higginsia coralloides Higgin, 1877, also pictured here, which has oxea and acanthomicroxea as spicules. Also placed under genus Teichaxinella (see Zea, 1987).

Author Reference: (Duchassaing & Michelotti, 1864)


Link: World Porifera Database