Azure Vase Sponge (Callyspongia plicifera)

external image 33_Purple_Vase_Sponge_Callyspongia_plicifera.jpg

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Porifera
Class: Demospongiae
Order: Haplosclerida
Family: Callyspongiidae
Genus: Callyspongia
Species: Callyspongia plicifera

The azure vase sponge is one of the most colorful sponges in the world.
Its color ranges from pink to purple to a fluorescent light blue.

external image vase.jpg

Physical Appearance:
The azure vase sponge is shaped like a vase with many grooves and pits on the outer surface.
The inner walls of the sponge, however, are very smooth.
The vase can grow up to 27 centimeters in height and 13.5 centimeters in diameter.
They grow either individually or in groups of two or three.

They are found in coral reefs at depths of around twenty to seventy-five feet.
Specifically, they can be found in coral reefs in the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and Florida.

Found in Bimini, Bahamas
Found in Bimini, Bahamas

These sponges take in water at the bottom and then eject it from the "osculum" which is the "little mouth" at the top of the sponge.
They can actually control water flow by closing (wholly or partially) the osculum.
They mostly reproduce sexually because they have both male and female organs.
When they release sperm cells into the water, it fertilizes the ova.
The fertilized eggs form larvae which in turn swim off in search of somewhere to settle.
This sponge does very well in captivity which allows people to use them as a very colorful decoration in salt water tanks.