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Sponges: Its Importance and General Characteristic as Invertebrate

Updated on June 4, 2014

Sponges belong to Phylum Porifera and its name derived from the Latin terms Porus which is pores and Ferre for bear. Sponge got its name because of its body full of holes or what we call spores. Sponges have 3000 species around the world.

Sponge constitute to the phylum of simple invertebrate animals over thousands of species. Most of the sponges are marine animals, but a few of some species can be found in fresh water. They are also considered regularly hermaphroditic just like some invertebrates, sponges, cnidarians, some mollusks, and earthworms.

Sponges are very abundant of tropical waters and one of the best examples of sponges is corals which are an important factor in the formation of calcareous deposits.

Some major sponges groups who have lived in the Cambrian period, which was 600 million years ago has still representatives today. But until now, there are still debates that do exist as to the relation of sponges to other invertebrates since they are multicellular line that comes from single-celled protozoans but sponges’ relation to cnidarians like jellyfish and corals are still vague. But one thing for sure that sponges are cnidarians have common ancestors.

sponge via morgueFile
sponge via morgueFile | Source

Characteristic of Sponges

Some common characteristic of sponges is that they have needlelike structure called spicules which can barely be found in their soft body wall. The spicules serve as the skeleton of sponges for it supports the body of spongy. They also secrete unpleasant sensation when you press the body of sponge just enough to prick your by spicules.

Sponges are black and smooth when alive that is why they are hard to identify when they are still alive. You can also see that bath sponges abound in some beaches. If you want their sponge all you need to do is to wash it and bleach it under the sun, the sponge dies and leaves the familiar skeleton that we commonly known as a sponge. As you can see in bath sponge, it consists of fibers which are made of sponge. It is the reason why the sponge retains its shape and also the counterpart of spicules in diverse sponges.

In some pictures of sponges you will see the external view of the sponge and longitudinal section of the sponge. They have a longitudinal section that shows a large central cavity called gastral cavity. Sponges have a dark inner layer of the body wall represents a layer of special cells which have flagella and flagellum for single-celled.

The special cells which line the inner surface of the sponge’s body wall are known as collar cells. They are called collar cells because it is inside the collar cells that the food of the sponge is digested. The flagella of the collar cells beat constantly. This draws water into the gastral cavity through the body pores and out through the opening at the top. The water current brings small food particles into the gastral cavity. This manner of food getting is important to the stationary adult sponge which cannot move about to hunt for its food.

Sponge Science

11 Importance of Sponges

We cannot deny the fact that sponges are somewhat a threat to oyster industry because they grown on oyster shells covering its surface and thus preventing the oyster from getting food and as a result oyster dies.

But on the other hand, sponges have a vital role for economic growth especially for commercial purposes. Like for example, the bath sponges are beneficial to man because of their skeleton which has many commercial uses. Name two such uses of sponges.

Here are some few of the sponge uses:

1. Use as a cleaning material for washing dishes


2. It is use to maintain the most in agriculture like in radish and some fast-growing seeds.


3. Moistened sponges are put inside a container and closed by an inverted glass and the sponge creates a moist surrounding that makes the seed sprout


4. Sponges are also used to absorb and catch oil leaks
It is wrap in some tools for you to hold it comfortably and so that it will not slip on your bare hands


5. It is also put to in some boxes with fragile things to protect and to avoid cracks for it offers soft and safety for it contour the shapes of breakable


6. It is also used to try the inside of the vase by putting it in a stick


7. It saves your soaps from melting fast by putting your soap above the sponge it will absorb excess water that may cause melt down of the soap.


8. Sprinkle some small amount of baking soda on the surface of the sponge and put it inside the refrigerator to eliminate stink odor.


9. It protects wares to avoid scratches by putting some sponges on its base
It is used to remove wallpapers in the wall by soaking the sponge into water and wiping it over the wall with stubborn left papers.


10. Keep some the soil moist in the pot of plants by putting a sponge below it before putting the soil, it will keep the water reserve into the soil for plants


11. It is also used to scrub in taking a bath


References; Science and Technology by Lilia M. Rabago Ph. D , Crescensia C. Joaquin Ph.D, Catherine B. Lagunzad , PH. D, Encarta

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