Bread Crumb Sponge

Bread Crumb Sponge

Bread Crumb Sponge

Halichondria panicea

Bread Crumb Sponge
Bread Crumb Sponge

Class: Demospngiae

General Characteristics:

Bread Crumb Sponges have a flat base with several randomly-arranged projections each having an osculum (large pore) on top.  This Bread Crumb Sponge was found in a tide pool at Acadia National Park (a tide-poolers dream).  Algae impart the greenish color shown; this represents a mutualistic relationship in which the algae provide food via photosynthesis in exchange for shelter.  Bread Crumb Sponges are typically an understated grayish-green without the presence of such algae.  The name of this species is derived from the way it breaks in your hand when handled; this is said to resemble how bread crumbles.  This species also has a strong odor due to presence of sulfur compounds1,2.  They can be found from low tide line to approximately 200 feet deep2.

Range: Arctic – Cape Cod; Alaska – Southern California2

Size:   covers an area up to 2ft1, 1 cm (0.5 in) thick; other source says 30 cm (1 ft) by 5cm (2 in) high2

Similar Species: Bowerbank’s Crumb of Bread Sponge (H. bowerbanki) has the same range, but the spicules differ slightly2

References:

1. Watling, L., Fegley, J., Moring, J., White, S., Sulzer, A. (2003) Life Between the Tides. Tilbury House Pub

2. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Seashore Creatures

 

 

 

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