Red Beard Sponge

Microciona prolifera

Image by David Remsen on Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0

Physical: M. prolifera are red or orange in coloration.  Mature specimens are fanned, while juveniles tend to encrust areas.  Maximum height is 20cm at maturity.

Habitat: Red Beard Sponges range from Nova Scotia to Florida and Texas.  They range from inshore to approximately 40ft. in depth and can survive salinities as low as 15 parts per thousands.

Feeding: M. prolifera filter water using their ostia (pores), and using flagella to extract organic materials from the water column.  The water then exits through the osculum (main channel).

Breeding: Sponges can reproduce either asexually by budding or sexually by broadcast spawning.  Fertilized eggs are planktonic for several weeks, until they settle as benthic organisms.

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