PORT PHILLIP BAY


Sponge 

Dendrilla cactos (Selenka, 1867)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

These sponges adopt an erect, branching or plate-like growth form but like all sponges of the Order Dendroceratida, they have an early encrusting growth phase and at this stage are easily confused with other encrusting genera in the order. The collagenous fibres of these sponges are branching (i.e. they do not form a reticulated mesh). The surface is smooth between the prominent conules and may appear almost "frilly" in some specimens.

Brief species characters:
Growth form: encrusting, branching.
Mineral skeleton: absent.
Surface texture: conulose, sglossy.

Family level characters:
The fibre skeleton of sponges in this family is always branching (dendritic), never mesh-like (reticulate). Darwinellid sponges are generally encrusting in habit but can be erect and branching. Of the four genera in this family, three are included here.

Order level characters:
Sponges of this collagenous order also lack spicules. They are often soft and very fragile due to a reduction in the fibrous skeleton in relation to the tissue mass. All begin their growth from a base that spreads over the substrate. The fibres of the skeleton then grow either in a branching, tree-like (dendritic) fashion (Family Darwinellidae), or adopt a mesh-like (reticulate) growth pattern (Family Dictyodendrillidae). The fibres of all sponges in this order show strong, concentric layering (lamination) and a very pronounced central core (pith), visible microscopically as a dark, opaque central line or region of collagen within the fibre. Examples of both families occur in southern Australian waters but only one family is included here.

Source: Goudie, L., Norman, M. N. and Finn, J. K. (in press) Sponges, Museum Victoria.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Porifera
Class:
Demospongiae
Order:
Dendroceratida
Family:
Darwinellidae
Genus:
Dendrilla
Species:
cactos

General Description

A dark pink sponge species with encrusting to branching form. Size of about 30 cm.

Biology

This species and other sponges of the genus Dendrilla are not common but can be found in oceans from Antarctica to the tropics.

Habitat

Reef and jetty areas, at depths of 0-50 m.

Sponge gardens

Reefs

Distribution guide

Indo-Pacific area, including records from Port Phillip and Victoria.

Species Group

Sponges Demosponges

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

30 cm

Diet

Plankton or particles

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Identify

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Goudie, L.

Lisa Goudie is a consultant with expertise in sponge taxonomy.

citation

Cite this page as:
Goudie, L., 2011, Sponge, Dendrilla cactos, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 18 Aug 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/7667

Text: creative commons cc by licence