A sponge (Chelonaplysilla noevus)

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



Chelonaplysilla noevus is a distinctive dark purple, soft and thin encrusting sponge. It has a characteristic net-like arrangement of sand grains on its surface. The osculum (a mouth-like aperture) is wide, slightly raised and conspicuous.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Records of Chelonaplysilla noevus are limited to Wales and Northern Ireland. The North Sea is its type locality.

Global distribution

Chelonaplysilla noevus is rare in western Europe with records in north west France, Italy, the Azores and Cape Verde Islands.


Chelonaplysilla noevus is commonly found on the face of steep or overhanging bedrock.

Depth range

15-115 m

Identifying features

  • Encrusting surface which is dark purple in colour.
  • Net-like arrangement of sand grains on its exterior.
  • Osculum wide and conspicuous.
  • Body is slightly contractile
  • Spicules are absent.

Additional information

Larvae of Chelonaplysilla noevus recorded from the Mediterranean (in October) were 0.5 mm long and 0.3 mm wide. They were violet to black in colour and had a posterior crown of long flagella; a lash-like appendage that protrudes from the body (Mariani et al., 2005).

Listed by

- none -


  1. Carter, H.J., 1876. XX.—Descriptions and figures of deep-sea sponges and their spicules, from the Atlantic Ocean, dredged up on board H.M.S. ‘Porcupine,’ chiefly in 1869 (concluded). Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 18 (105), 226-240. DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/00222937608682035

  2. Mariani, S., Uriz, M.J. & Turon, X., 2005. The dynamics of sponge larvae assemblages from northwestern Mediterranean nearshore bottoms. Journal of Plankton Research, 27 (3), 249-262. DOI https://doi.org/10.1093/plankt/fbh173

  3. Picton, B.E., Morrow, C.C. & van Soest, R.W.B., 2011b. Chelonaplysilla noevus (Carter, 1876). [In] Sponges of Britain and Ireland. Available from http://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/sponge_guide/  Accessed on 2021-04-22

  4. Van Soest, R., 2021. Chelonaplysilla noevusSponges of the NE Atlantic - Marine Species Identification Portal ETI Bioinformatics. (22/04/2021). http://species-identification.org/species.php?species_group=sponges&id=151


  1. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-05-21


This review can be cited as:

Nash, R.A., 2021. Chelonaplysilla noevus A sponge. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 21-05-2024]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/2338

Last Updated: 27/04/2021