Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

 An erect, squat sponge that grows up to 10 cm in height and is bright yellow, verging on orange at the margins. The branches fuse to form variable stubby finger-like shapes. The surface is velvety due to unevenly projecting skeletal spicules and looks as if it is dusted with small yellow particles. The sponge has a firm consistency and does not contract when out of water.
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Description

A small (up to 10cm tall, but more typically 5cm) branching-erect sponge with a short stalk. The branches are compressed and 'webbed' together. The colour is bright to deep yellow, verging sometimes towards deep orange at the margins. It is distinctively 'bright'. The surface has a characteristic 'mealy' appearance, as though dusted with small yellow particles. Small oscules are borne on the apices of the branches. When alive, the open oscules are partially surrounded by a small triangular 'flap' of tissue. The overall form is similar to Stelligera rigida but the mealy appearance of the surface and bright yellow colour are characteristic. Most readily confused with Axinella verrucosa, so far only recorded as far north as Roscoff and the Channel Islands.
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Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

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Distribution

A south-western species in the British Isles occuring in Lough Hyne, Co Cork, scattered sites on the west coast of Ireland and North to the west coast of Scotland.
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Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 24 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 13 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 8 - 50
  Temperature range (°C): 10.625 - 18.117
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.267 - 8.324
  Salinity (PPS): 35.229 - 38.605
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.358 - 6.153
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.088 - 0.574
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.583 - 2.990

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 8 - 50

Temperature range (°C): 10.625 - 18.117

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.267 - 8.324

Salinity (PPS): 35.229 - 38.605

Oxygen (ml/l): 5.358 - 6.153

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.088 - 0.574

Silicate (umol/l): 1.583 - 2.990
 
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 Found sublittorally to a depth of about 30 m on sloping rock surfaces, sometimes in silty conditions, at sites with varying degrees of wave exposure. Commonly found with other sponges, cnidarians and bryozoans.
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This is a scarce species in the British Isles, it may be found at certain localities on sloping, lower circalittoral bedrock in areas exposed or semi-exposed to wave action. It is also frequent on extremely sheltered sublittoral cliffs in Lough Hyne, Co Cork.
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Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

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