Comments Subscribe to Personal Liberty News Feed Subscribe to Personal Liberty

Biologists Detail Four New Deep-Sea ‘killer Sponges’

MONTEREY, Calif. (UPI) — Carnivorous sponges are the venus flytraps of the ocean floor; they’re also exceedingly rare. Scientists have only discovered seven since the first was observed 20 years ago.

But now, marine biologists have found and studied in great depth four new species found off the California coast, from the Pacific Northwest to Baja California: Asbestopluma monticola, Asbestopluma rickettsi, Cladorhiza caillieti and Cladorhiza evae.

The new study was written by marine biologist Lonny Lundsten, of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, with the help of two Canadian researchers. It was published this week in the journal Zootaxa.

Sea-floor sponges are typically filter feeders, meaning they subsist off of bacteria and tiny, single-celled organisms sucked up by their cells from the surrounding ocean water. Many sponges wave long tentacle-like branches back and forth, creating a current. The small current draws in nutrient-rich water and nourishes their specialized cells called choancytes.

But carnivorous sponges, like the ones detailed in this latest paper, don’t employ choancytes. “To keep beating the whip-like tails of the choancytes takes a lot of energy,” explained author Lonny Lundsten. “And food is hard to come by in the deep sea. So these sponges trap larger, more nutrient-dense organisms, like crustaceans, using beautiful and intricate microscopic hooks.”

While these various sponges all continue to feed on small bacteria, their tiny hooks are also capable of trapping small sea animals such as shrimp-like amphipods. Once in the grasp of the killer sponge, these crustaceans only take a few hours to be digested. Soon, all that is left is the shell.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

Facebook Conversations

Join the Discussion:
View Comments to “Biologists Detail Four New Deep-Sea ‘killer Sponges’”

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.

Is there news related to personal liberty happening in your area? Contact us at


Sign Up For Personal Liberty Digest™!

PL Badge

Welcome to,
America's #1 Source for Libertarian News!

To join our group of freedom-loving individuals and to get alerts as well as late-breaking conservative news from Personal Liberty Digest™...

Privacy PolicyYou can opt out at any time. We protect your information like a mother hen. We will not sell or rent your email address to anyone for any reason.