Organ pipe sponge (Leucosolenia botryoides)

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



Leucosolenia botryoides is a very delicate, soft, white, tubular sponge that grows to up 2 cm wide and 1 cm thick. The base consists of a network of encrusting, root-like tubes from which slender, vertical tubes, grow up to 2 cm in height. Each tube bears a large oscula (exhalant pore) at its terminal end that opens to an internal central cavity. The body wall contains 3-pointed and 4-pointed calcareous spicules and is covered on the outer surface by minute hairs.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Leucosolenia botryoides is common and widespread on the coasts of Britain and Ireland.

Global distribution

The distribution of Leucosolenia botryoides extends from northern Norway and the western Baltic Sea southwards to the Mediterranean coasts of Europe.


Leucosolenia botryoides can be found from the mid-water shore to the shallow sublittoral waters. It inhabits tide pools and the underside of stones, and attaches itself to rocks and various species of seaweed including Fucus, Corallina, Polysiphonia, Cladophora and Laminaria.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Soft, white, tubular sponge forming a dense mass.
  • Up to 2 cm wide and 1 cm thick.
  • Encrusting, root-like base.
  • Slender tubes up to 2 cm high bearing large oscula at terminal end.

Additional information

Leucosolenia botryoides is an annual species that reproduces in the summer and autumn. It is similar to Leucosolenia complicata but that has branches extending laterally from the vertical tubes which Leucosolenia botryoides lacks.

Listed by

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  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. Manx Biological Recording Partnership, 2018. Isle of Man historical wildlife records 1990 to 1994. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-01.

  3. National Trust, 2017. National Trust Species Records. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-01.

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

  5. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-06-15


This review can be cited as:

Richards, S. 2007. Leucosolenia botryoides Organ pipe 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 15-06-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 12/09/2007