PORT PHILLIP BAY


Sponge 

Fenestraspongia intertexta (Carter, 1885)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

This genus takes its name from a characteristic grid-like (fenestrate) surface, formed by intersecting ridges. These sponges are erect, thick and plate-like (lamellate) or cylindrical-tubular in habit. The skeleton of sponges in this genus is made up of a clearly hierarchical network of large primary, intermediate secondary and fine tertiary fibres. This feature combined with an unarmoured outer layer (ectosome) renders these sponges compressible but tough.

Brief species characters:
Growth form: flabelliform.
Mineral skeleton: absent.
Surface texture: fenestrated.

Family level characters:
Representatives of this widespread family occur in all oceans except polar seas. The 23 genera are distinguished from other dictyoceratid sponges by their layered or laminated fibres, appearing microscopically like layers of bark, and by the lack of the fine, collagen fibrils found in the Family Irciniidae. Taxonomy within the family is based on the presence or absence of a sand-armoured cortex, attributes of the fibre skeleton and for some genera, the characteristic growth forms (i.e. honey-combed or digitate).

Order level characters:
This order is the first of three orders of sponges that do not contain native spicules - the collagenous sponges. All dictyoceratid sponges are supported by a spongin fibre skeleton. In most, the fibres are organised as a hierarchy of larger primary, smaller secondary and in some, fine tertiary fibres. These sponges are generally tough and flexible, but with a tendency to incorporate detritus into the matrix, they can become hard and brittle. If present, spicules found in these sponges are an element of the incorporated debris, (i.e. foreign). The taxonomy of these sponges is based on surface features and fibre characteristics. Dictyoceratid sponges often exhibit a darker outer region with a paler interior. There are four families in this order, all of which are represented here.

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

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Porifera
Class:
Demospongiae
Order:
Dictyoceratida
Family:
Thorectidae
Genus:
Fenestraspongia
Species:
intertexta

General Description

A pale pink to white sponge species, thickly flabelliform. Size of about 50 cm.

Biology

Only two species of this genus group Fenestraspongia have been described to date, both of which are found in south-eastern Australia and only one of which has been recorded from Victorian waters.

Habitat

Reef areas, to depth of 30 m.

Sponge gardens

Reefs

Distribution guide

Port Phillip in Victoria.

Species Group

Sponges Demosponges

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

50 cm

Diet

Plankton or particles

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to 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, Fenestraspongia intertexta, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 23 Nov 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/7670

Text: creative commons cc by licence