Red Fire Sponge

Tedania nigrescens

This is a common species of sponge found in the lower areas of the Gulf of California intertidal zones.  Just like any other type of sponge, they have no tissue or organ structures; they only have cell-level complexity.  They feed through a hole at the top of the structure referred to as an osculum and draw in water through the oscula of their porous bodies.  They are protected and kept together by spicules, which are tiny, durable cellular structures that act as a skeleton to the sponge and a deterrence to predetors.

Like all sponges, this species has the ability to reaggragate.  If a specimen is damaged and a chunk of it is ripped off, then each of the cells will try to come back together to reform the sponge.

A warning for divers: This particular species of sponge has siliceous spicules.  The spicules act almost as fiberglass, getting into the skin of anything that touches it.  Coming into physical contact with a fire sponge may cause rashes and severe skin irritation.  We strongly suggest that you try to avoid contact with them.

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