There has been a prolonged debate in past centuries as whether to classify sponges are animals or plants. Often, they have been mistaken to sea corals due to their simple and hard physical outlook. While ancient Greeks referred them as â€œZoofitan’ to imply half plant-half animal organism, zoologists later got evidence that resulted in Spongebob’s re-classification to animals.
â€˜Poriferaâ€ is the scientific name for Sponges which means Pore-bearing. A sponge is neither a coral nor a plant it is grouped under the animal category. It is interesting to learn that it lacks a brain and the central nervous system. The tiniest sponge is smaller than 1 inch in length with the average to the largest being 3 to 6 feet. Monoraphus sponge is the largest sponge ever discovered which grew to over 10 feet in width.
Some Sponge species include Azure Vase Sponge, Red Sponge, Row Pore Sponge, Red Boring Sponge, Purple Tube Sponge and Strawberry Vase Sponge. Below are some facts about Spongebob:
Habitat: Sponges live on the ocean floor. Scientists explain that a sponge attaches itself permanently to the floor and never moves. Under the water, they appear dark due to their dark membrane which acts as the creature’s skin. Most of the sponges (99%) live in marine water environs. Only a few live in freshwater ocean floors. All sponges prefer clear and transparent water to murky waters.
Reproduction: Being hermaphrodite, the Spongebob can produce through egg fertilization by a sperm. A nearby sponge gets the sperm and internal egg fertilization takes place. A tiny larva is a result which is released on the floor of the ocean and develops into a sponge. Sponges can reproduce asexually through budding. In this case, an adult sponge grows a branch which breaks off and which gets implanted on a solid ground and matures into a sponge.
Feeding: They feed on plankton and organic particles. From the surface of their bodies from where they have tiny pores, the sponges filter these articles. Oxygen and nourishment are also obtained from the water that flows around them.
Population: Scientists have identified around 5000 species of Sponges worldwide. Out of all these, only an approximate of 7 of them are harvested globally and considered viable commercially.
Circulatory: Since Sponges do not have a circulatory system, they have pores which allow water to flow through them and in the process they obtain oxygen. Their bodies have the adaptation that optimizes the water flow efficiency in their bodies.
The Body Structure: While sponges have spongy skins which can be articulately described as jelly-like, it’s hard to explain them as having as particular body structure as they come in different sizes and shapes.
Protection: Sea sponges lack an out layer for protection. They also cannot move in times of danger. Nevertheless, they have an adaptation to release chemical toxins when there are predators in their surroundings. It is, however, important to know that the effects of the toxins are limited to only a few predators commonly known as Sponge-eating species. The main predator for the sea-sponges is nudibranch which belongs to the family of sea slugs. Turtles, tilefish, and starfish are some of the other Spongebob’s predators.
Survival: Zoologists argue that Sponges do well in varying oceanic climates; from polar to tropical with an ability to survive in all latitudes and intertidal areas. Further, they can survive even in the deep sea regions even in sea caves where there is no light. However, for commercial purposes, sponges from tropical areas such as the Red Seas, Aegean and Mediterranean have been found to be of high quality.
Life Cycle: Sponges are particular temperate region creatures. It is believed that some of its species from tropical zones as well as from deep-ocean habitats can live for as long as 200 years. Scientists explain that demosponges from calcium-rich ocean floors grow up to 0.2 millimeters annually, and in cases where this rate of growth is consistent, a 1-meter Spongebob can be approximately 5000 years old. And while some sponges commence sexual production only when a few weeks old, other can wait till they are several years in age.