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New killer sea sponges discovered

Posted on Saturday, 19 April, 2014 | Comment icon 8 comments

A number of sea sponges on the ocean floor. Image Credit: CC 1.0 Parent Gery
Four new species of carnivorous sponge have been identified in the depths off the coast of California.
There are several thousand known species of sea sponge in the world's oceans and the vast majority are believed to simply feed on bacteria and other single-celled organisms on the sea floor.

In recent years however scientists have been identifying an increasing number of carnivorous sponges that instead use a series of microscopic hooks to catch and hold prey that they then slowly digest using special enzymes.

The newest additions were discovered using a robotic exploration vehicle that spent thousands of hours examining creatures living almost 2,000ft down. The find brings the total number of known carnivorous sponges to 11 with most being found in the vicinity of undersea volcanic vents.

"It just goes to show how little we know about life at the bottom of the ocean," said biologist Lonny Lundsten. "Its the largest habitat on the planet, and were still discovering new species all the time."

Source: National Geographic | Comments (8)

Tags: Sponge, Sea, Ocean

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by ouija ouija on 18 April, 2014, 21:47
KILLER sponges? MEAT-EATING sponges? I don't know ...... that doesn't sound right to me
Comment icon #2 Posted by eaglesareskykittens on 19 April, 2014, 1:56
Just another reason why sponges are awesome.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Glacknor on 19 April, 2014, 14:04
What a horrid way to go, being slowly dissolved in sponge juices as tiny barbs pierce your flesh. That's downright sinister. Glad I'm not a fish. Also, can't help but notice nearly every article about the sea has the sentence "It just goes to show how little we really know about the worlds oceans!" or something to that effect. I think we get it by now, we know nothing, lol.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Rye17 on 19 April, 2014, 14:13
Comment icon #5 Posted by ancient astronaut on 19 April, 2014, 16:13
I was thinking the same thing.
Comment icon #6 Posted by AliveInDeath7 on 19 April, 2014, 21:35
Another good reason to stay out of the ocean.
Comment icon #7 Posted by calaf on 19 April, 2014, 22:54
I was thinking the same thing. Patrick had better watch his.....well, whatever he has.
Comment icon #8 Posted by DigitalDreamer on 19 April, 2014, 23:00
That one person with the gross avatar has a point, what's up with the misleading title ahaha

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