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Boring Sponge

Cliona spp.

The boring sponge is a thick, bright yellow sponge that bores holes into its host for shelter. (Bernard Picton/Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland)
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The boring sponge is a thick, bright yellow sponge that bores holes into its host for shelter. (Bernard Picton/Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland)

The boring sponge is a thick, bright yellow sponge that grows on oyster reefs throughout the Chesapeake Bay.

Appearance:

  • Bright yellow
  • Thick, encrusting form
  • Small pores
  • Can grow to several square feet

Habitat:

  • Grows on oysters reefs and other mollusk colonies
  • Bores holes into oyster shells to find shelter inside the oysters

Range:

  • Found throughout the Chesapeake Bay
  • May overwhelm some areas, but not be present in other areas

Feeding:

  • Filter feeder
  • Draws in water through tiny pores and filters out plankton and other food particles

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

  • Reproduces both sexually and asexually
  • Asexual reproduction takes place when a fragment breaks off an adult sponge and buds into a new sponge. A sponge may also produce clusters of cells in autumn that develop into new sponges in spring.
  • During sexual reproduction, eggs are fertilized within the sponge. Free-swimming larvae eventually settle to the bottom, where they find a hard surface to attach themselves to.

Other Facts:

  • Gets its name from its habit of boring holes into oyster shells. This weakens the shells and eventually kills the oyster.
  • If you find an empty shell covered with pockmarks, it means that animal was once infested by a boring sponge
  • Boring sponges are a major pest to Bay oysters

Sources and Additional Information:


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