Saturday, September 26, 2009

"WHAT IT’S CALLED: The yellow boring sponge, or in Latin, Cliona celata. WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE: Like a bright yellow, very small, porous, lumpy sea flower growing in a shoreline rock bed. Except it rarely grows alone. Usually you find clusters of them — each one no more than a centimetre and a half in diameter — spreading through the rock bed so they almost carpet it. It can be quite a pleasing effect to the human eye, but to nearby sea creatures it’s a wasp at a picnic.The boring sponge doesn’t get its name from being a bad storyteller. No, this is boring as in drilling — either into rocks or the shells of oysters, clams and other mollusks sometimes to the point of overwhelming them. So if you find an empty oyster shell covered with what look like pockmarks, chances are the oyster was plagued by a plague of boring yellow sponges. WHERE TO FIND IT: On both coasts of North America where it occupies low intertidal zones. It bores into the shells of other creatures in order to anchor itself and gain some protection. WHAT IT EATS: Various microscopic marine particles including plankton. It’s what’s known as a suspension feeder, meaning it draws water through its tiny pores and then filters out whatever organic material it can find. WHAT EATS IT: Sea slugs and, where they exist, different sea turtle species. HOW IT REPRODUCES: Sexually and/or asexually. It can manage both. Sexual reproduction occurs when one sponge releases sperm into the water. Currents carry the sperm to another sponge that has eggs to fertilize. The fertilized eggs are then released into the water where they develop into larvae. Then after a few hours or sometimes days, the larvae start looking for a suitable surface to settle on. When they find it, they attach themselves to that surface and metamorphose into juvenile sp"

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