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Top 10 New Species

Killer Sponge

Name:  Chondrocladia (Meliiderma) turbiformis
Common Name:  None
Family:  Cladorhizidae

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

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

231 comments

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2:56PM PST on Feb 3, 2012

Weird, bizarre--but the sea slug is cute.
Thanks for an interesting article.

2:44PM PDT on May 29, 2011

Really cool, and some gorgeous pictures!
Thank you Melissa.

2:07AM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

Thanks for all the awesome information & pictures. hopefully i don't come across the killer sponge when i am at the beach! my daughter just asked what they were (thankfully she doesn't realise they are in NZ) & said 'so they are not like Sponge Bob Square Pants that catches jellyfish?' :-)

10:53PM PST on Feb 25, 2011

thanks.

1:28AM PST on Jan 21, 2011

Beautiful pictures...noted, thank you for sharing.

1:01PM PST on Dec 5, 2010

Thanks so much Melissa for this educational read. If we could only leave nature alone as it is so wonderous what it can do.
Carniferous Sponges!, The Attenborough Carniferous Plant and the sharp toothed Minnows.... WOW Also the New Kind of Yam... hope it doesn't get over harvested!

12:36PM PST on Dec 3, 2010

Weird...

5:31AM PST on Nov 11, 2010

... Very nice article! Nature never ceases to amaze and impress me!

10:29PM PST on Nov 7, 2010

Beautiful adaptations!

4:53AM PDT on Nov 5, 2010

This is so amazing, Nautre keeps creating and creating.Meanwhile the human race destroys...............

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