PORT PHILLIP BAY


Golf Ball Sponge 

Tethya sp. MoV 6666

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Spherical sponges coloured red-orange, yellow or pale pink. Some have apparent root-like anchoring structures known as pedicels for attachment to the substrate. Members of this genus have a firm, almost incompressible texture due to the dense, radial arrangement of spicules and a warty, tuberculose, surface. The separation of the species of Tethya is based on the overall size and shape of the sponge and the type and placement of the asterose microscleres.

Brief species characters:
Growth form: spherical.
Mineral skeleton: siliceous.
Megescleres: monaxone.
Surface texture: tuberculose.

Family level characters:
Sponges in this family have styles or rod-shaped megascleres rounded at one end and pointed at the other. There are two different sized star-shaped or asterose microscleres.

Order level characters:
Hadromerid sponges are often brightly coloured and are also characterised by a radial arrangement of megascleres in the cortex. The megascleres are pin-head shaped tylostyles and pointed, rod-shaped oxeas. Microscleres if present may be star-shaped, rod-shaped or spiral and are key characters when separating these sponges at the family level.

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

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Porifera
Class:
Demospongiae
Order:
Poecilosclerida
Family:
Tedaniidae
Genus:
Tethya

General Description

An orange sponge species with spherical form. Size of about 5 cm.

Biology

Sponges in the genus Tethya often exhibit budding propagules, a form of asexual reproduction whereby the parent sponge produces a stalk of spicules at its surface, terminating in a bud that detaches and floats away to become a separate individual. Almost a third of the world's known species of Tethya occur in Australia with 15 species found in southern Australia. This is the only genus of this family group to be found in Australian waters, the other species are in tropical areas and have been recorded up to depths of 2000 m.

Habitat

Reef and jetty areas, at depths of 3-30 m.

Sponge gardens

Reefs

Distribution guide

Victoria.

Species Group

Sponges Demosponges

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

5 cm

Diet

Plankton or particles

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Species Code

sp. MoV 6666

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, Golf Ball Sponge, Tethya , in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 23 Oct 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/7696

Text: creative commons cc by licence