Vase Sponge

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Vase Sponge

Callyspongia vaginalis, known as the branching vase sponge is a demosponge. This species is frequently colonized by Parazoanthus parasiticus, a colonial anemone, and Ophiothrix suensonii, a brittle star. It feeds on plankton and detritus. The color of C. vaginalis is variable, ranging from lavender to brownish-gray to greenish-gray and sometimes light tan. C. vaginalis usually has a tubular growth pattern, although the magnitude of the current affects its growth form. The long, erect tubes taper slightly and have a wide vent up to 2.5 cm in diameter with a thin wall. The sponge has very elastic tubes that vary in length and can stand singly or with other tubes. The sponge is rough with its irregular pits and nubs covering its surface. The species is found on hard surfaces, usually reef plateaus and deep reef slopes.