Freshwater Sponge (spongilla Lacustris): Species Accounts
Physical characteristics: Freshwater sponges are crustlike, branched, or clumped. The texture is fragile and soft, and the color is whitish or green. Freshwater sponges have irregularly scattered and barely visible water-exit holes. The surface is uneven and roughened by spicules.
Geographic range: Freshwater sponges live in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Habitat: Freshwater sponges live in standing and running fresh water.
Diet: Freshwater sponges are filter feeders.
Behavior and reproduction: Scientists know little about how freshwater sponges behave. These sponges reproduce asexually by forming buds in late summer that spend the winter in a dormant state and emerge from the adult in the spring. Freshwater sponges reproduce sexually during the summer, giving birth to live larvae.
Freshwater sponges and people: Freshwater sponges have no known importance to people. Some scientists believe they may be helpful as indicators of water pollution.
Conservation status: Freshwater sponges are not threatened or endangered. ∎
FOR MORE INFORMATION
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Wells, Sue, and Nick Hanna. The Greenpeace Book of Coral Reefs. New York: Sterling, 1992.
Hartman, Holly. "The Science of SpongeBob." Pearson Education Fact Monster. http://www.factmonster.com/spot/spongebobscience.html (accessed on January 20, 2005).
Hill, Malcolm S., and April L. Hill. "Freshwater Sponges as Indicators of Water Pollution: An Investigative Undergraduate Lab." Labstracts. http://www.zoo.utoronto.ca/able/news/fall2000/page2-f00.htm (accessed on January 21, 2005).
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