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Species Guide » 05. Sponges » Agelas oroides ca / es

Scientific name: Agelas oroides

(Schmidt, 1864)

Common Name: Cat: Esponja taronja lobulada; Cast: Esponja amarilla; Ang: Maltese sponge, Orange crater sponge; Fr: Agelas orangée; Al: Hornschwamm

Group: 05. Sponges

Area type: None in particular

Depth: Down to 50 m

Measures: Up to 20 cm

How does it look like?

This is an orange or dark yellow marine sponge, with asimmetric lobes and irregular shape. The lobes are 15-20 centimeter wide and 10cm tall. It’s a an animal which filters water thanks to its pore and channel system, used to pump water in and exhale it out. It presents a 0’5 to 10 milimeter rounded oberture between the lobules, just at the contact point. Inhalation occurs at a little size starred-shape porus. This animal has an important filering capacity, considering its size. It has a dense texture, but a bit flexible. The structure is composed from spongine and spicules. Spongine is a collagen that provides flexibility, and spicules are structural microscopic forms that are a defense against predators too. We can find this species grouped in direct contact. It has no organs or tissues, and it's cells can do all the different functions in a versatile and independent way. Beeing a sponge, it is the only animal without a nervous system.

 

Where does it live?

It can be found at the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. Is the only mediterranean endemic sponge, while Agelas genus is present in other areas such as tropical waters, the Red sea and the Indic ocean. It lives to a depth between 15-50 meters and grows preferably in spots exposed to currents, where more microplancton and bacteria are available. It grows on rocky surfaces, crevices or caves entries, better in twilight.

 

How does it feed?

It’s a filtering animal that nourishes from little size plancton and bacteria. It has no mouth nor digestive system, it’s digestion is intracellular. Neither has excretory system. It simply expels any waste through the exhalation pipe.

 

How does it reproduce?

As the rest of Demospongiae class it can be hermaphrodite and it has sexual reproduction. It has de capacity of non sexual reproduction too, as all of its cells can replicate an entire specimen from a fragment. Sponges release male gametes on the water, and female ones do the same with female gametes. Insemination occurs randomly and generates an egg. Later, a ciliated larvae (Parenchymela), swims and settles down in a different spot where it can develop.

 

Is a confusion possible?

A confusion is possible with other mediterranean orange sponges, like Crambe crambe (Schmidt, 1862), Spirastrella cunctatrix (Schmidt, 1868), Dictyonella incisa (Schmidt, 1880) or Haliclona (Halichoclona) fulva (Topsent, 1893).

 

Curiosities

· The Agelas genus has 36 different species.

· Some scientific researches are trying to find new bioactive components in sponges, focusing specially on Agelas genus.

· The Agelas oroides contains an important amount of oroidine, wich has many interesting biological attributes to science.

· Sponges appear in fossile registers 500 milion years ago.

· At first sponges were considered as plants, but later they were classified as animals due to its active filtering behaviour.

· Sponges have toxins and antibiotics against predators. Scientific researches are focusing on this elements to find out pharmacological uses.

· Some deep-water sponges are carnivorous.

 

Taxonomy

Kingdom: Animalia, Philum: Porifera, Class: Demospongiae, Subclass: Heteroscleromorpha, Ordrer: Agelasida, Family: Agelasidae, Genus: Agelas

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