Nature & Environment
Meat-eating sponge observed on ocean floor
By T.K. Randall
November 14, 2012 · 18 comments
Image Credit: CC 2.5 Clark Anderson
A bizarre carnivorous sponge shaped like a candelabra has been found off the coast off California.
Known as the 'harp sponge', the species lives two miles below the ocean surface and feeds off crustaceans. The sponge's limbs are covered in Velcro-like hooks which snare unsuspecting prey swept in to it by the currents. Until now the harp sponge had only ever been seen through a remote-operated deep sea vehicle.
"No one had ever seen this animal with their own eyes before," said biologist Lonny Lundsten who was one of the first researchers to see the sponges. "We were just amazed."
A new carnivore shaped like a candelabra has been spotted in deep ocean waters off California's Monterey Bay. The meat-eating species was dubbed the "harp sponge," so-called because its structure resembles a harp or lyre turned on its side.
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