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Carnivorous sponges
Vacelet, J.; Boury-Esnault, N. (1995). Carnivorous sponges. Nature (Lond.) 373(6512): 333-335
In: Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 0028-0836; e-ISSN 1476-4687
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Aquatic organisms > Heterotrophic organisms > Carnivores
    Aquatic organisms > Marine organisms > Aquatic animals > Marine invertebrates
    Availability > Food availability
    Behaviour > Feeding behaviour
    Biological phenomena > Adaptations
    Biology > Functional morphology
    Diets
    Asbestopluma Topsent, 1901 [WoRMS]; Cladorhizidae Dendy, 1922 [WoRMS]; Porifera [WoRMS]
    Mediterranean [Marine Regions]
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Vacelet, J., more
  • Boury-Esnault, N., more

Abstract
    Extremely food-poor environments, such as the deep sea, place extraordinary demands on organisms with respect to feeding, resulting in modifications of the feeding strategies found in shallow waters. A general rule is that macrophagy becomes a better strategy than microphagous suspensions-feeding. The characteristics by which phyla are defined, nonetheless, remain unchanged in these adaptations. We present here an apparently unique example of a fundamentally different body plan, derived from a pre-existing phylum, occurring in deep-sea sponges. We demonstrate that the Cladorhizidae have evolved carnivory and capture small crustaceans by means of filaments provided with raised hook-shaped spicules. This adaptation to a food-poor deep-sea environment has resulted in the loss of the diagnostic characteristics of the phylum Porifera: an aquiferous system and choanocytes.

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