MarLIN

information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Golf ball sponge (Tethya aurantium)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.

Summary

Description

Tethya aurantium is a spherical sponge up to 10 cm in diameter. It has the appearance of a small orange and may have rooting processes. The surface is 'warty' (tuberculate). The 'warts' (tubercles) are separated by contractile pore-bearing grooves. Sometimes buds are present, found on short stalks on top of these tubercles. When contracted, Tethya aurantium can appear smooth and evenly marked by striations. The striations can expand into grooves or channels, leaving 'islands of tissue'. Between these 'islands' the profile can be rounded or flat. There is usually one large oscule found opposite the attachment point.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Recorded from south-west England, the west coast of Wales, western Scotland and most Irish coasts, excluding the east.

Global distribution

Recorded from Norway to the Mediterranean and from New Zealand.

Habitat

Tethya aurantium grows singly or in colonies on rocks, boulders and stones in the shallow sublittoral to depths of 130 m. It is often found on rocks in kelp forests.

Depth range

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Identifying features

  • Spherical/hemispherical.
  • Usually yellow or orange.
  • Up to 10 cm diameter.
  • Surface tuberculate or warty.
  • Often covered by a layer of silt.
  • Usually one large and distinct apical osculum.
  • The sphere has a short basal stalk which grows from a root-like mass.

Additional information

Stalked reproductive buds are produced between July and September (van Soest et al., 2000).

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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Bibliography

  1. Gibson, R., Hextall, B. & Rogers, A., 2001. Photographic guide to the sea and seashore life of Britain and north-west Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  2. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E. ed., 1999. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. CD-ROM Edition. Ulster Museum and The Marine Conservation Society, Belfast and Ross-on-Wye., Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication no. 280.]

  3. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line] http://www.jncc.gov.uk/mermaid

  4. MarLIN (Marine Life Information Network), 2005. SEArchable BEnthic Data (SEABED) Map [on-line]. Data Access Sub-programme, Marine Life Information Network for Britian and Ireland http://www.marlin.ac.uk,

  5. Moss, D., & Ackers, G. (eds.), 1982. The UCS Sponge Guide. Produced by R. Earll. Ross-on-Wye: The Underwater Conservation Society.

  6. Picton, B.E. & Costello, M.J., 1998. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. [CD-ROM] Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin., http://www.itsligo.ie/biomar/

  7. Van Soest, R.W.M., Picton, B. & Morrow, C., 2000. Sponges of the North East Atlantic. [CD-ROM] Windows version 1.0. Amsterdam: Biodiversity Center of ETI, Multimedia Interactive Software. [World Biodiversity Database CD-ROM Series.]

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Oakley, J.A. 2008. Tethya aurantium Golf ball sponge. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/2150

Last Updated: 08/05/2008