Porifera (Sponges)

Phylum Porifera (Sponges)

Wikipedia Entry

Approximate Number of Species: 5,000

Largest: The cloud sponge, Aphrocallistes vasus can cover an area of 11.15 feet (3.4m) x 3.6 feet (1.1m)


Smallest: The tiny sponge, Sycon cillatum, reaches a hight of only 0.002 inches (0.05mm)

Sycon cilliatum photo used with permission from DanielGuip via Flikr


Brusca RC & Brusca GJ (2003) Invertebrates (Sinauer Associates, Inc., Publishers, Sunderland, MA) 2nd Ed.

B. Austin, personal communication

Grzimek B (1974) Grzimek’s Animal Life Encylopedia (Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York).

3 Responses

  1. Welcome to the Story of Size
    Welcome to the Story of Size at ·

    […] Future Episodes Porifera […]

  2. Amanda
    Amanda at · Reply

    Just a few thoughts about what it means to have the largest body size: While I’d love to think at Aphrocallistes vastus is the largest sponge (it’s what I study), I think for Porifera especially that the largest sponge depends on whether you’re talking about quantity of tissue (biomass, such as dry weight) or overall amount of space taken up. Big barrel sponges like Xestospongia muta probably are almost as large as Aphrocallistes. However, Aphrocallistes, like other glass sponges, is 80-90% skeleton, so that the amount of tissue strung up among that giant scaffolding of glass is really quite a lot less than what would be in a denser albeit smaller demosponge (such as a Xestospongia, a Geodia, or Suberites). I don’t know what the answer would be for which sponge is the “largest”, but I thought I’d bring in some of my thoughts about it.

  3. Dr. M
    Dr. M at · Reply

    This is a great point. I went with the largest by biovolume without consideration of density or actual living tissue. Definitely worth considering.

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