PORT PHILLIP BAY


Sponge 

Ircinia sp. MoV 6681

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Sponges in this large genus are generally massive and cup-shaped but may be thickly encrusting, lobe-like or digitate. The surface is usually raised into conical-shaped projections, (conulose). They are characterised by the absence of a sandy cortex, and by the presence of sand and detritus coring their fibres.

Brief species characters:
Growth form: irregular.
Mineral skeleton: absent.
Surface texture: conulose.

Family level characters:
The commonly occurring sponges of this wide-spread family are nearly always massive in habit and characteristically tough to cut or tear due to the presence of very fine collagen filaments. These are microscopically identifiable by a terminal swelling or ampule. Three genera are recognised in this family. Defining characters include the presence or absence of a sand-armoured crust, or cortex, and the presence or absence of sand and detritus coring skeletal fibres.

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:
Irciniidae
Genus:
Ircinia

General Description

A white, massive sponge species with irregular form. Size of about 20 cm.

Biology

The larger fibres (primary fibres) of the skeleton of this sponge and other species in its genus often fuse together (anastomose) to form bundles called fascicles, making a surface texture like of "old boots".

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

20 cm

Diet

Plankton or particles

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Species Code

sp. MoV 6681

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, Ircinia , in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 19 Aug 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/8075

Text: creative commons cc by licence