How many of you really know that the scrub you are using in the kitchen is actually an animal species? Or the one that you have been cleaning your car with is nothing but natural sponges found in deep sea? Sea sponges are one of the oldest living organisms in the earth, inhabiting the planet for last 500 million years. Sea sponges are among the simplest multicellular organisms and mostly look like plants. They also have chlorophyll content like most plants, but in actual they are zoophytes. Unlike other animals, sea sponges don’t have a distinct nervous, digestive and circulatory systems. They don’t go for hunting like other animals; instead they remain fixed to their place and allow water to flow through them. They have specialized cells which absorbs the oxygen and other food particles from water. What’s more, sea sponges are hermaphrodites, which mean that they are both male and female. Sea sponges are basically of two types, encrusting and free floating. Encrusting ones are similar to the mosses attached to rocks on earth, while free floating ones are more diverse. They have greater inner volume than their outer surface area and grow to various shapes and sizes. If you covet learning some more interesting facts about sea sponge, read through the following lines.
Interesting Facts About Sea Sponge
- There are around 6000- 10000 known species of sea sponges around the world. You must be really amazed to know that sea sponges can hold around 16,000 animals inside them!
- Sea sponges allow huge quantities of water to pass through them, an estimated 20,000 times greater than their own volume. Did you know that just one day is sufficient for a few sponges to clean up a whole big sea? No wonder, we should use them to purify the already polluted water in our lands!
- Sponges can grow in sizes between few inches to 10 feet wide.
- Mostly, sponges are marine animals and can live up to the depth of 9000 feet in deep ocean where sunlight can never reach.
- While most sponges are sessile animals, few marine species can move across the bottom at miniscule speed of 1 to 4 millimeters per day.
- Few species of sea sponges are carnivorous and feed on crustaceans and other small animals. They mostly live in deep waters.
- Sea sponges don’t have complex immune system like other animals, but they do release harmful toxins in water to prevent intruders and predators. These toxins can produce skin rashes on touching and holding them.
- Sea sponges can have both sexual and asexual types of reproduction. Asexual reproduction can be done by fragmentation, budding or by producing gemmules. For sexual reproduction, a sponge can play either the role of male or female at a time. The sperms are released in water by one sponge and are received by another sponge.
- Some deep sea sponges can live up to the age of 200 years. Some calcified demosponges have even been reported to live for thousand years and more.
- Sponges can be immensely helpful in treating many diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and cancer. Chemicals from sponges have many antibacterial properties.
- Other commercial use includes household cleaning; sponges can also be used for cleaning cars and surfaces. It can also be used as cleaning painting tools and apply paints.
Intrigued by these marvelous facts about the sea sponges! Next time you go underwater and spot the sea sponges, find out which of them are males and which are females?