Boring Sponge

Cliona spp.

Quick Facts

  • Species

    Native

  • 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.

  • Diet

    Filter feeders

  • Status

    Stable

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.

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.

Did You Know?

  • 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

Quick Facts

  • Species

    Native

  • 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.

  • Diet

    Filter feeders

  • Status

    Stable