Name: Chondrocladia (Meliiderma) turbiformis
Common Name: None
If you thought carnivorous plants were surprising, try a carnivorous sponge. In general, sponges feed by filtering bacteria from the water that passes through them. Some sponges trap roughly 90 percent of all bacteria in the water they filter–but carnivorous sponges have a more hearty appetite. This species, found in New Zealand, uses hooked spicules to capture small crustaceans. Carnivorous sponges have been known only since 1995–now the genus contains 33 species.
Etymology: “Named for the spindle or whirl-shaped form of the characteristic trochirhabds (Latin, turbo, spinning top, disc).”
Photo: Jean Vacelet