BIOTIC Species Information for Axinella dissimilis
Researched byAngus Jackson Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
Scientific nameAxinella dissimilis Common nameA branching sponge
MCS CodeC540 Recent SynonymsAxinella polypoides (Schmidt, 1862)

PhylumPorifera Subphylum
Superclass ClassDemospongiae
SubclassCeractinomorpha OrderHalichondrida
Suborder FamilyAxinellidae
GenusAxinella Speciesdissimilis

Additional InformationAxinella polypoides is still used by some authors (e.g. Hayward and Ryland, 1995). However, Axinella polypoides is now considered to be a separate species confined to the Mediterranean (Howson & Picton, 1997). Axinella dissimilis may be confused with other branching sponges e.g. Stelligera stuposa and Raspailia hispida but the relatively thicker branches and grooves surrounding the oscula are distinguishing features.
Taxonomy References Howson & Picton, 1997, Picton & Costello, 1998, Moss & Ackers, 1982, Bowerbank, 1865,
General Biology
Growth formFlabellate
Feeding methodActive suspension feeder
Mobility/MovementPermanent attachment
Environmental positionEpibenthic
Typical food typesSuspended particulate matter. HabitErect
BioturbatorNot relevant FlexibilityHigh (>45 degrees)
FragilityFragile SizeMedium(11-20 cm)
Heightca 15 cm Growth RateNo information found
Adult dispersal potentialNone DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional InformationSize range refers to height. There is no information detailing whether the sexes are separate. Although elastic and flexible the surface of the sponge cracks if bent more than 90° (Moss & Ackers 1982). There is no information regarding the toxicity of this species.
Biology References Picton & Costello, 1998, Moss & Ackers, 1982, Bowerbank, 1865, Konnecker, 1977,
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandPresent at a few sites around Mull, the south west of England and the western extremities of Wales. In Ireland there are records from the south east, the south west, and along the Atlantic coast round to the north east.
Global distributionSouth western British Isles, the Channel Isles, Atlantic coasts of France and Spain. Recorded also from Iceland.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth range? - 100+
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional InformationKonnecker (1977) also records Axinella dissimilis as an offshore species found on rock patches surrounded by shell gravel or coarse sand. In the Channel Islands, Brittany and Lough Hyne, Co. Cork the species also occurs on infralittoral bedrock (Picton & Costello, 1997). The sponge is recorded from depths of at least 100 m (Cabioch, 1968)

Substratum preferencesBedrock
Large to very large boulders
Physiographic preferencesOpen coast
Offshore seabed
Biological zoneLower Infralittoral
Upper Circalittoral
Lower Circalittoral
Wave exposureExtremely Exposed
Very Exposed
Moderately Exposed
Tidal stream strength/Water flowInsufficient information
SalinityFull (30-40 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References JNCC, 1999, Picton & Costello, 1998, Moss & Ackers, 1982, Cabioch, 1968, Konnecker, 1977, Konnecker, 1973,
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive typeInsufficient information
Insufficient information
Developmental mechanismSpores (sexual / asexual)
Reproductive SeasonInsufficient information Reproductive LocationInsufficient information
Reproductive frequencyInsufficient information Regeneration potential No
Life spanInsufficient information Age at reproductive maturityInsufficient information
Generation timeInsufficient information FecundityInsufficient information
Egg/propagule sizeInsufficient information Fertilization typeInsufficient information
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potentialInsufficient information Larval settlement periodInsufficient information
Duration of larval stageInsufficient information   
Reproduction Preferences Additional InformationNo information is available regarding the longevity or reproductive mechanism of this species.
Reproduction References
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