Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 58 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 43 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 14 - 88.2
  Temperature range (°C): 19.671 - 24.778
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.793 - 6.698
  Salinity (PPS): 36.222 - 36.446
  Oxygen (ml/l): 3.888 - 4.895
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.095 - 0.423
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.993 - 2.933

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 14 - 88.2

Temperature range (°C): 19.671 - 24.778

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.793 - 6.698

Salinity (PPS): 36.222 - 36.446

Oxygen (ml/l): 3.888 - 4.895

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.095 - 0.423

Silicate (umol/l): 0.993 - 2.933
 
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Wikipedia

Neofibularia nolitangere

Neofibularia nolitangere, the touch-me-not sponge, is a species of demosponge in the family Desmacellidae. It is found in shallow waters in the Western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

Description[edit]

Neofibularia nolitangere is a massive sponge often growing to about 30 centimetres (12 in) wide and 30 centimetres tall but sometimes reaching 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) in width. It has a central cavity or atrium with thick walls. It takes various forms in different areas of the Caribbean. In the Bahamas it usually occurs as a number of rounded lobes with a cup-shaped depression or cloaca on the apex of each. In these are several openings called osculi that slope diagonally to join the atrium and out of which water is propelled. Sometimes the sponge is encrusting, forming a shallow layer of tissue growing across the substrate. In other locations it grows as several concentric mounds with smaller cloacal openings or as large vase-type structures, single or in groups, sometimes fused together laterally. The general colour is deep brown or dark red. The inside surfaces of the cloaca are rougher than the outer surface of the sponge which is smooth but not shiny. The consistency of this sponge is compressible, fragile and crumbly, but handling it is unwise as it causes a smarting sensation and numbness of the skin. Repeated exposure to it can cause a more severe allergic reaction.[2][3][4]

Distribution[edit]

Neofibularia nolitangere is found in the Western Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea. Its range extends from Florida and the Bahamas to the Greater and Lesser Antilles and south to Panama, Colombia and Venezuela.[1] The depth range is 3 to 46 metres (9.8 to 150.9 ft).[2]

Biology[edit]

Like other sponges, Neofibularia nolitangere is a filter feeder. Water is drawn in through small pores in the walls called ostia. These are lined by flagellated cells called choanocytes which move the water along. The bacteria-size food particles are engulfed by the choanocytes and slightly larger particles are captured by the narrow collars found where the ostia enter the atrium. The water exits through the osculi on the top surface of the sponge.[5]

Neofibularia nolitangere has been observed to "smoke" as it releases a large number of sperm from the osculi. It is presumed from this that it reproduces sexually but little is known of its reproductive biology.[3]

Ecology[edit]

Parasitic polychaete worms, Haplosyllis spongicola, are frequently seen as small white shapes protruding from the inner cloaca walls. There may be tens of thousands of worms living in an individual sponge and they are sometimes so abundant that they make up five percent of its weight.[6] Several species of fish are associated with this sponge. These include the gobies Elacatinus horsti and Elacatinus chancei which live inside its apertures and largely feed on the worm.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c van Soest, Rob (2010). R. W. M. Van Soest, N. Boury-Esnault, J. N. A. Hooper, K. Rützler, N. J. de Voogd, B. Alvarez de Glasby, E. Hajdu, A. B. Pisera, R. Manconi, C. Schoenberg, D. Janussen, K. R. Tabachnick, M. Klautau, B. Picton, M. Kelly & J. Vacelet, ed. "Neofibularia nolitangere (Duchassaing & Michelotti, 1864)". World Porifera database. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  2. ^ a b c Colin, Patrick L. (1978). Marine Invertebrates and Plants of the Living Reef. T.F.H. Publications. pp. 110–111. ISBN 0-86622-875-6. 
  3. ^ a b "Touch-me-not-sponge (Neofibularia nolitangere)". Interactive Guide to Caribbean Diving. Marine Species Identification Portal. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  4. ^ "Neofibularia nolitangere". The Sponge Guide. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  5. ^ Dorit, R. L.; Walker, W. F.; Barnes, R. D. (1991). Zoology. Saunders College Publishing. pp. 587–588. ISBN 0-03-030504-7. 
  6. ^ Colin, Patrick L. (1978). Marine Invertebrates and Plants of the Living Reef. T.F.H. Publications. p. 326. ISBN 0-86622-875-6. 
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