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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)
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:

The boring spong is bright yellow with small pores and a thick, encrusting form. It can grow to an area of several square feet.

Habitat:

Grow on oysters reefs and other mollusk colonies. Bore 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:

Boring sponges are filter feeders that draws in water through their tiny pores, filtering out plankton and other food particles.

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

These sponges reproduce 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:

  • The boring sponge 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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