Sponge Guide

UNCW National Science Foundation Valdosta State University Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Observed Characteristics:

Color:

  • gray
  • green
  • black
  • brown
  • cinnamon-tan

Morphology:

  • encrusting
  • massive

Consistency:

  • soft

Sample Locations:

  • Bahamas

Plakortis sp.-“no spicules”

Notes: Very soft, gray black, light brown or parrot green encrustations with scattered oscules; internal color lighter. Often the tissue dissintegrates upon handling. Several but not all specimens with characteristic pungent minty smell, from soft to strong. No spicules. It has the look of a typical sponge of the genus Plakortis. Genus Pseudocorticium was recently erected to hold those species of the family Plakinidae without spicules (Boury-Esnault et al., 1995), but its external appearance and internal organization is completely different to that of Plakortis. Further work with tools other than external morphology and size of spicules is needed. As color seems to be important to distinguish some species (e.g., Díaz & van Soest, 1994; Muricy & Díaz, 2002; Moraes & Muricy, 2003; Ereskovsky et al., 2013; Domingos et al., 2013) we are puzzled by the variation in color in these aspiculate specimens and by the fact that there are specimens of P. angulospiculatus (Carter, 1882, also pictured here) with a few spicules, perhaps indicating that spicule contents vary ecologically across species. There is also variation in the pungent smell in this species and in P. angulospiculatus.