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

A sponge (Hymeniacidon perlevis)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.
Only coastal and marine records shown



The growth form and colour of Hymeniacidon perlevis varies depending upon shore exposure, from thin sheets on lower to mid shore (growing along crevices and fault lines), to massive flanged or turreted forms often found on the lower shore in wave sheltered locations and in the sublittoral where conditions are distinctly silty. Colour varies from yellow to orange to blood-red. Shore forms tend to be blood-red, whilst sublittoral forms tend to be pinkish-red.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Recorded from Shetland, Orkney, a few scattered locations on the east coast, but more abundant on the south, south west and west coasts of Britain. It has also been recorded from the River Ilen estuary in southern Ireland.

Global distribution



Usually an intertidal species found colonizing a variety of surfaces from exposed rocks and seaweed holdfasts to muddy gravel. Also present on sublittoral rocks in turbid water or variable salinity conditions. It appears to prefer slightly silty environments.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Grows as thin sheets, 'cushions' or massive flanged, but rarely branching.
  • Grows up to 20 cm or more across.
  • Thickness varies from a few mm (usually <0.03 cm) to 10 cm or more.
  • Flanges and irregular projections may grow up to 3 cm or more.
  • Yellow to orange to blood-red in colour.
  • Surface smooth, even and minutely tuberculate in thin sheets, even but distinctly tuberculate in 'cushions' and uneven, irregularly folded with well developed tubercles in flanged forms.
  • Smells sweetish, but vaguely distasteful.
  • Oscules (openings) are scattered, level with surface or at the top of branching processes.

Additional information

In the intertidal and shallow sublittoral more than one form can be detected, which may eventually be recognized as including more than one distinct species.

Other species
Hymeniacidon kitchingi is the only other Hymeniacidon species from Western Europe. It is more thinly encrusting than Hymeniacidon perlevis, and is beige-yellowish in colour. Close examination of the spicules of the endoskeleton may be required to distinguish other species.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

Search on:


  1. Fish, J.D. & Fish, S., 1996. A student's guide to the seashore. Cambridge: Cambridge 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. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from:  Accessed 01 April 2017

  4. 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.]


This review can be cited as:

Barton, E.M. 2008. Hymeniacidon perlevis A 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 16-08-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 29/04/2008