Q:

How do sponges obtain food ?

A:

Quick Answer

Depending on the sponge, food is obtained through filtering water for nutrient-rich particles or snaring small sea creatures with specially adapted arms. Most sponges are detritivorous, consuming debris particles and microscopic life forms that float their way.

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Full Answer

Living sponges are very similar to the cellulose sponges used for dish washing. Their open holes or pores, draw in water, filtering it for particle consumption. The water is then ejected from their bodies. The sponges eat using sticky, funnel-shaped collar cells that sway, drawing water through the cell. The collar cells also expel waste through a flagella, a long whip-like structure that holds the collar portion of the cell in place. The entire surface of the sponge can absorb food like this, making it a highly efficient feeder.

Scientists discovered the Harp sponge. Living at 11,000 feet under the sea, the Harp sponge was the first carnivorous sponge to be identified. They fish with arms known as vanes, which radiate out from their center. Each vane has vertical branches lined with hooks that snare tiny shrimp when the current brings them by. The sponge then envelops the shrimp in a membrane and digests it slowly.

There are two major divisions of sponge, encrusting, and free-standing. Encrusting sponges have amorphous, somewhat shapeless bodies. They cling to solid surfaces, such as rock, and grow in colonies, creating carpet like areas. Free-standing sponges have more distinct body shapes and come in a variety of forms. The largest free-standing sponge is the barrel sponge, which can stand taller than 6 feet. Because food rich waters are needed to allow sponges to grow to this size, larger sponges are found in deeper waters that are rich with life.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do sponges reproduce?

    A:

    Sponges, or poriferans, reproduce both sexually and asexually. Asexually, reproduction is achieved by way of budding, which is a process in which new sponges grow out of adult sponges. It may also be achieved asexually by fragmentation, in which a detached piece of an adult sponge develops into a new organism.

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  • Q:

    What are the differences between sponges and cnidarians?

    A:

    Cnidarians have groups of similar cells that work together as tissues, while sponges have no tissues, only disconnected regions of specialized cells. Each group has a type of cell unique to their group: Sponges have collar cells, and cnidarians have nematocysts. No sponges are capable of movement as adults, while some cnidarians move as adults.

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  • Q:

    What eats sponges?

    A:

    Marine animals, such as hawksbill sea turtles, angelfish, sea slugs, some starfish and the larvae of sponge-flies, feed on sponges. Not many marine animals eat sponges, because multicellular organisms contain less nutrients, are tough to eat and produce chemical toxins as their form of defense.

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  • Q:

    What are some interesting facts about sea sponges?

    A:

    Sea sponges are bottom-dwelling, multi-cellular animals. Most sea sponges attach themselves to the ocean floor, other sea animals or rocks for the duration of their lives. A small number of sea sponges are mobile creatures that move along the ocean floor at the rate of 1 to 3 millimeters per day.

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