Common name: Lemon Sponge
Scientific name: Leucetta chagosensis
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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Porifera
Order: Clathrinida
Class: Calcarea
Family: Leucettidea
Genus: Leucetta
Species: L. chagosensisfree html hit counter
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The Leucetta chagosensis or the Lemon Sponge is a Calcarea sponge. It is 3 to 4 inches wide. Like other Calcarea sponges they are very small. It has a purse like shape, and it has one prominent osculum. A osculum is a mouth like opening in a sponge to expel water. Some specimens have a naked lip at the ridge of its mouth. It also has a firm and smooth, translucent surface. With its yellow color it really gives out the lemon in it.
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I think, one adaptation it has is its sessile nature. The lemon sponge can stay on its environment and doesn’t have to give it up. Lemon sponges live on coral reefs, also in crevices. Or they are found in shallow waters. In the ecosystem they eat bacteria in the water and with the osculum they release the water so it’s clean. They are mostly found on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, or you can find them on illuminated reef habitats on the Red Sea.
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In the food web they can clean the water or they can just be food for other sponge eating animals. The osculum that it has will suck the bacteria infested water up. Then the pore and collar cells do the work. Those are other sponges. Most sponges eat or digest particles in the water, so really there is no need to compete for food. Because, there are particles all over the place.
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Sponges also have a lot of predators some are the sea slugs, segmented worms, crabs and shrimp. Most sponges have a foul taste, and some of them have toxic compounds. They are like chemical weapons to fend off enemies. Although they have protection, the sea slugs have evolved immunity against the toxins of specific sponge families. And the sea slugs can use this to their own predators.
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The Lemon Sponge reminds me of a small yellow sponge, obviously. Also that their skeletons are made of calcium carbonate. And that almost all of them can regenerate. They are very, very cool. I learned that the lemon sponge is another sponge being hunted by fisher men in parts of Chile and Asia.
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Author: Natalia G
Published: 02/2008
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Sources:
“Lemon Sponge”. www.answers.com. 2005.
The Gale Group, Inc. Feb, 8, 08 “Coral Reef Connections”. 2001.
www.pbs.org. Feb, 9,08
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Photo Credit: www.poppe-images.com