Thorectandra sp. MoV 6713

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

These sponges are always stalked and may be tubular, globular or fan-shaped. The large oscules are always on the top of the sponge (apical) or along the margins (marginal). The surface in some is characterised by prominent ridges and hollows, giving an almost honey-combed appearance. The texture is quite soft and crumbly due to the wide-spaced mesh of fibres.

Brief species characters:
Growth form: flabelliform, irregular.
Mineral skeleton: absent.
Surface texture: sandy, oscules prominent.

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.



General Description

A sandy-yellow sponge species, flabelliform to irregular form. Size of about 30 cm.


These sponges typically exude copious amounts of thick mucus when handled. The cortex of these sponges is armoured due to incorporation of sand into the outer layer of the skeleton.


Reef areas, at depths of 3-30 m.

Sponge gardens


Distribution guide

Port Phillip in Victoria.

Species Group

Sponges Demosponges


Shallow (1-30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

30 cm


Plankton or particles

Commercial Species


Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Species Code

sp. MoV 6713


Conservation Status

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


article author Goudie, L.

Lisa Goudie is a consultant with expertise in sponge taxonomy.


Cite this page as:
Goudie, L., 2011, Sponge, Thorectandra , in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 05 Aug 2020,

Text: creative commons cc by licence