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

Chalice sponge (Phakellia ventilabrum)

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



A medium sized sponge up to 45 mm in height. Typically cup or fan shaped and pale grey /cream in colour.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Recorded from several sites on the west coast of Scotland and the Hebrides, from the very south western tip of Wales and scattered localities on western Irish coasts.

Global distribution



The species is found characteristically in sheltered areas on lower circalittoral rock in the proximity of deeper waters.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • A cream / pale grey cup or fan shaped sponge.
  • Attached to substratum by a narrow base.
  • The outer rim of the sponge has a sharp edge.

Additional information

This species is fairly similar in appearance to Axinella infundibuliformis but often larger and more brittle, with a sharp edge to the cup (rounded in Axinella infundibuliformis). The colour is pale grey compared to Axinella infundibuliformis which is pale yellow.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

Search on:


  1. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  2. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  3. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line]


  1. Centre for Environmental Data and Recording, 2018. Ulster Museum Marine Surveys of Northern Ireland Coastal Waters. Occurrence dataset accessed via on 2018-09-25.

  2. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  3. OBIS (Ocean Biogeographic Information System),  2019. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2019-06-16


This review can be cited as:

Jackson, A. 2000. Phakellia ventilabrum Chalice 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. [cited 16-06-2019]. Available from:

Last Updated: 14/06/2000