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Species Name: Mycale americana van Soest, 1984
Common Name: Flabby Sponge
Synonymy: Mycale americana van Soest, 1984
  1. TAXONOMY

    Kingdom Phylum/Division Class: Order: Family: Genus:
    Animalia Porifera Demospongiae Poecilosclerida Mycalidae Mycale

    Please refer to the accompanying glossary for definitions of the descriptive terms used in this report.

    Species Description

    The flabby sponge, Mycale americana, is an encrusting species (Porifera Brasil 2012). Living specimens are usually red or orange-red, but they are also reported to be yellow, olive, tan or lavender (Ruppert & Fox 1988).

    Potentially Misidentified Species

    M. americana is easily confused with the red beard sponge, Microciona prolifera, especially because both sponges occur in the same habitat (Ruppert & Fox 1988). Both species are similar in color, size and growth form. However, M. americana is fragile and soft, whereas M. prolifera is tough and difficult to tear. In addition, the spicules of each species are completely different.

  2. HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION

    Habitat & Regional Occurence

    M. americana has been reported from North Carolina, Florida, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, and Venezuela (World Porifera Database 2012). Specimens often grow on oyster reefs, floating docks, pilings and shell rubble (Ruppert & Fox 1988). This species has also been documented on prop roots of the red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle (van Soest 1984).

  3. LIFE HISTORY AND POPULATION BIOLOGY

    Size & Growth

    M. americana grows 2-5 cm thick in patches up to 30 cm x 30 cm (Porifera Brasil 2012).

  4. PHYSICAL TOLERANCES

    No information is available at this time

  5. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY

    Predators

    The flabby sponge is preyed upon by the sea star, Echinaster brasiliensis (Porifera Brasil 2012).

    Associated Species

    The brittle star, Ophiothrix angulata, is a common inhabitant of M. americana. Arms of O. angulata can often be seen emerging from pores in the sponge (Ruppert & Fox 1988).

  6. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    No information is available at this time

  7. REFERENCES

    Ruppert, EE & RS Fox. 1988. Seashore animals of the Southeast: A guide to common shallow-water invertebrates of the southeastern Atlantic coast. University of SC Press. Columbia, SC. USA. 429 pp.

    Van Soest RWM. 1984. Marine sponges from Curaçao and other Caribbean localities. Part III. Poecilosclerida. In: Hummelinck PW & LJ Van der Steen. (Eds). Uitgaven van de Natuurwetenschappelijke Studiekring voor Suriname en de Nederlandse Antillen. No. 112. Studies on the Fauna of Curaçao and other Caribbean Islands 62: 1-173. 

    World Porifera Database. World Register of Marine Species. Online: http://www.marinespecies.org/porifera. Accessed 25 November 2012.

Page by LH Sweat
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Page last updated: 28 December 2012

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