30 photos - 21 species


Sponges have been around for more than 500 million years and have hardly

changed so far.

They are sessile animals that absorb ambient water through pores.

A sponge the size of a football can filter 3000 litres of water a day!

Agelas citrina

Agelas sponge

 Maximum size: 100 cm

Maximum depth: 15 - 65 m

Thick, crusty and lobed growing sponge.

Appears orange when exposed to artificial light.

Very irregular shape.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Agelas clathrodes

Elephant ear sponge

 Size: 60 - 180 cm

Depth 10 - 40 m

Massive, orange, thick and leathery.

Grainy surface, also as large, flat mats that resemble large ears.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Agelas conifera

Brown tube sponge

 Length 30 - 90 cm

Depth 10 - 40 m

Soft-walled tubes in medium, yellow, grey-brown and lighter inside.

The photo shows the octopus arm growth form.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Aiolochroia crassa

Branching tube sponge

Size: 15 - 45 cm

Depth 6 - 24 m

The group of tubes all originate from a common base.

Thanks to the numerous small bumps, they look dotted.

Colour variations: purple, yellow, orange, olive green.

Photo 1 Astrid: Bonaire Caribbean

Photos 2 - 3 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean


Aplysina archeri

Stove-pipe sponge

 Size: 60 - 180 cm

Depth 15 - 30 m

Long, soft-walled, slender and thin tubes.

Lavender-coloured, grey to brown exterior.

Grows in groups and as a single specimen.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Aplysina cauliformis

Row pore rope sponge

Size: 120 - 240 cm

Depth 12 - 40 m

The outflow openings form long rows and have protruding, thin, often lighter coloured edges.

They usually hang downwards, with the ends pointing upwards.

Variable colours, such as purple, red and lavender.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Aplysina lacunosa

Convoluted barrel sponge or Purple tube sponge

 Maximum size: 35 cm

Maximum depth: ?

This type of sponge is found in the Caribbean on sandy areas in reefs and lagoons.

Always covered with sediments and algae.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Callyspongia aculeata

Branching vaase sponge

 Size: 15 - 90 cm

Depth 2 - 20 m

Stiff-walled, thin tubes, with many irregular, conical outgrowths.

Almost always in groups of 20 to 30 tubes.

In places with strong currents they form fans or vases.

Colour variations: brownish-grey, lavender, greenish-grey and occasionally light yellow-brown.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Callyspongia plicifera

Azure vase sponge

 Maximum size: 15 - 45 cm

Maximum depth: 6 - 23 m

Vase-shaped, pink to purple with light blue fluorescence. 

Strongly sculpted on the outside, with numerous twisted furrows and edges.

Photo 1 Astrid: Bonaire Caribbean

Callyspongia siphonella

Colonial tube sponge

 Maximum height: 1 m

Purple-coloured tubes that are sometimes branched. 

Lives on hard substrate and is a host for shrimps and worms.

Photo 1 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Photo 2 Astrid: Hurghada Egypt

Clathria (Thalysias) curacaoensis

Orange-veined encrusting sponge

 Maximum size: 10 - 30 cm

Maximum depth: 1 - 30 m

Very variable colours: orange-yellow, orange, cream, yellow, white, red, brown, cinnamon brown.

Soft consistency, slightly slimy and somewhat elastic.

Its surface is smooth, shiny with a striking vein pattern of the canal system.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Clathrina clathrus

Yellow clathrina

 Size: depending on spread

The individual tubes can reach a diameter of 3 mm and form a dense lattice.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bangka Island North Sulawesi

Diplastrella megastellata

Red encrusting caribbean sponge

Size: 10 - 25 cm

Depth 7 - 23 m

Often covers the underside of overhangs, holes and caves.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Lotrochota birotulata

Green finger sponge

 Size: 30 - 90 cm

Depth 4 - 18 m

Numerous greenish, finger-like branches.

Can grow hanging down in structures, in tangled clumps, but also upright.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Monanchora arbuscula

Pink lumpy sponge

 Maximum size: 80 cm

Maximum depth: 2 - 58 m

A beautifully patterned sponge that grows in the reef

in areas with a strong plankton supply.

Colour: red to orange.

Photo 1 Astrid: Bonaire Caribbean

Mycale (Mycale) laevis

Orange icing sponge

Maximum size: 10 - 50 cm

Maximum depth: 6 - 30 m

Gradually covers other creatures such as corals

and other sponges with a layer approx. 4 mm thick

Colour: Yellow, yellow-green, white and up to transparent.

Photo 1 Astrid: Bonaire Caribbean

Negombata magnifica

Magnificent fire sponge or Toxic finger-sponge

Maximum size: 70 cm

Its branches are about 3 cm in diameter and are often branched.

This sponge lives in shallow lagoons and on sheltered reef slopes and in weak currents.

Extremely poisonous.

Favourite food of certain nudibranchs (see photo above)

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Neofibularia nolitangere

Touch me not sponge

 Size: 30 - 120 cm

Depth 3 - 40 m

Solid, dark brown, felt-like and lumpy surface.

Grows in many different forms.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Niphates erecta

Lavender rope sponge

 Maximum size: 1.80 m

Light pink to purple ropes with a porous, rough, textured surface.

Sparsely branched, tiny, eccentric openings

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Scopalina ruetzleri

Orange lumpy encrustinge sponge

 Size: 10 - 30 cm

Depth 4 - 23 m

Rough, orange surface, otherwise soft.

The outflow openings blend into the surface pattern.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Xestospongia testudinaria

Barrel sponge

 Maximum height: 150 cm

Their overall shape is variable, often vase- or barrel-shaped.

The inner diameter can be up to 50 cm.

Various crustaceans are often found in the sponge.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Bali Indonesia

Photo 3 Johnny: Moalboal Philippines