The Carnivorous Harp Sponge, A New Discovery off the California Coast

by Owen James Burke

The newly discovered harp songe (Chondrocladia lyra), which hardly resembles any other sponge or carnivore, holds itself 10,000 feet beneath the surface using root structures called “rhizoids”.

Like fan coral, it stands proud in the water column, protruding many vertical branches from its several horizontal “vanes”. The tiny balls at the tips of the branches are spermatophores, orientated to broadcast sperm. Also equipped with spurs, the branches extend upward like the strings of a harp creating a net to trap small crustaceans–the sponge’s primary prey.

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* and zmescience*

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