Jump to: navigation, search
Parent taxa:
(check the following menu and phylogeny - the taxon in bold refers to the topic on this page)

Taxonomy Tentative Phylogeny
o Metazoa 
      |  `?-Archaeocyatha
      |==Sclerospongiae (polyphyletic)?
      |==Stromatoporoidea (polyphyletic)?
         `--Radiata / Eumetazoa


Permian reef diorama; featuring the large sponge Heliospongia (Demospongea,Epipolasida,Heliospongiidae) (middle and left background)

Demosponges are the most widespread and advanced class of sponges, as well as the largest and most diverse class. Some 90 to 95% of all sponge species belong here.

Demosponges construct their skeletons from one-rayed to four-rayed (monaxon or tetraxon) siliceous spicules, or of spongin fibres, or both. Spicules, when present, usually differentiated into megascleres (larger) and microscleres (smaller). Most living demosponges have skeletons of unfused spicules, although due to preservational effects, the fossil record of demosponges is mostly of fused forms.


Demosponges have a leuconoid construction (above), with many small, round, flagellated chambers.

While this class does contain freshwater groups, most are marine. Some demosponges are more than a cubic meter in size. There are three subclasses, the Homoscleromorpha, Tetractinomorpha, and Ceractinomorpha.

Fossil Record

Crumillospongia sp., a middle Cambrian Desmosponge fossil from the Wheeler Formation, House Range, Utah, USA [
Demosponges include many siliceous fossil sponges, belonging to the Order Lithistida, a taxon that ranges from the Cambrian to the present, and are common from the Jurassic onward.

Lithistids are distinguished by irregular knobby spicules known as "desmas" that interlock to hold the skeleton together in a reticulate wall of great thickness. They fossilize readily and in recognizable form because the interlocking desmas retain the original form of the sponge. This group, which includes many fossil demosponge taxa, is now considered polyphyletic with members in both the Tetractinomorpha and the Ceractinomorpha. However, most workers have refrained from allocating the various families, owing to limited knowledge of the group and the fact that the numerous fossil genera would be difficult or impossible to place since the free spicules are almost always lost upon death of the sponge. [Moore et al, p.93, Clarkson, p.53, Smecher iNet ]


<==Demospongiae [Cornacuspongida, Demospongea, Hadromerina, Myxospongiae]
   |  i. s.: Spongiidae
   |           |--Spongia
   |           |    |--S. oculata
   |           |    |--S. officinalis
   |           |    |--S. panicea
   |           |    `--S. tubulifera Lamarck 1814
   |           `--Hippospongia
   |                |--H. communis
   |                `--H. frondosa Hentschel 1912
   |         Plakortis
   |         Ophlitaspongia seriata Grant 1865
   |         Halichondriidae
   |         Stylocordyla borealis
   |         Rhizaxinella burtoni
   |         Chondrocladia gigantea
   |         Pachymatisma johnstonia
   |         Neofibularia mordens
   |         Synops anceps
   |         Tedania [Tedaniidae]
   |           |--T. actiniformis
   |           |--T. brevispiculata Thiele 1903
   |           |--T. coralliophila Thiele 1903
   |           |--T. dirhaphis Hentschel 1912
   |           |--T. maeandrica Thiele 1903
   |           `--T. reticulata Thiele 1903
   |         Xestospongia muta
   |         Esperiopsis digitata
   |         Verongia archeri
   |         Ianthella
   |         Clionaidae
   |           |--Thoosa istriaca Müller, Zahn et al. 1979
   |           `--Cliona
   |                |--C. celata
   |                `--C. orientalis Thiele 1900
   |         Polymastiidae
   |           |--Polymastia bursa Koltun 1966
   |           `--Tentorium levantinum Ilan, Gugel et al. 2003
   |         Lissodendoryx
   |           |--L. firma
   |           `--L. kyma
   |         Aplysilla
   |           |--A. rosacea
   |           `--A. sulfurea
   |         Geodiidae
   |         Mycale Gray 1867 [incl. Esperella Vosmaer 1885; Mycalidae]
   |           |--M. armata Thiele 1903 [=Esperella armata ms]
   |           |--M. fibrexilis
   |           |--M. macilenta
   |           |--M. moluccensis Thiele 1903
   |           |--M. rhaphidotoxa Hentschel 1912
   |           |--M. richardsoni
   |           `--M. sulcata
   |                |--M. s. sulcata
   |                `--M. s. aruensis Hentschel 1912
   |         Chalinidae
   |         Agelas [Agelasidae]
   |           |--A. cavernosa Thiele 1903
   |           |--A. cerebrum Assmann, van Soest & Köck 2001
   |           `--A. dispar Duchassaing & Michelotti 1864
   |         Anthracosyconidae
   |         Collatipora Finks 1960
   |         Haplosclerida
   |           |--Spongillidae
   |           `--Pellina Schmidt 1870 [Oceanapiidae]
   |                `--P. penicilliformis van Soest & Sass 1981
   |         Myxillina [Poecilosclerida]
   |           |--Coelosphaeridae
   |           `--Myxillidae
   |                |--Myxilla Schmidt 1862 [incl. Dendoryx Gray 1867]
   |                |    `--M. grata Thiele 1903 [=Dendoryx grata ms]
   |                `--Hymenancora lundbecki Hentschel 1912
   |         Suberitidae [Hadromerida]
   |           |--Prosuberites Topsent 1893
   |           |    `--P. geracei van Soest & Sass 1981
   |           `--Suberites
   |                |--S. domuncula
   |                `--S. ficus
   |         Tetillidae [Spirophorida]
   |           |--Paratetilla aruensis Hentschel 1912
   |           |--Tetilla
   |           |    |--T. bacca (Selenka 1867) [incl. T. ternatensis Kieschnick 1896]
   |           |    `--T. japonica
   |           `--Cinachyra Sollas 1886
   |                |--C. mertoni Hentschel 1912
   |                |--C. nuda Hentschel 1912
   |                |--C. subterranea van Soest & Sass 1981
   |                `--C. vertex von Lendenfeld 1907
   |         Chondrillidae
   |         Hyatella sinuosa
   |    |--Clavulidae
   |    |--Desmacidonidae
   |    |    |--Melonanchora kobjakovae
   |    |    |--Merlia
   |    |    `--Desmacidon aegagropila
   |    |--Axinellidae
   |    |    |--Axinella Schmidt 1862 [incl. Axinosia Hallmann 1914]
   |    |    |    |--A. axifera Hentschel 1912
   |    |    |    |--‘Axinosia’ incrustans Burton 1930
   |    |    |    `--A. polypoides
   |    |    `--Phakellia
   |    |         |--P. arctica
   |    |         `--P. aruensis Hentschel 1912
   |    |--Renieridae
   |    `--Monocrepidae
   |--Ceratosa [Ceratellida]
   |    |--Halisarca [Dendroceratida]
   |    `--Dictyoceratida
        |    |--Plakina [Plakinidae]
        |    |    |--P. monolopha
        |    |    `--P. trilopha
        |    |         |--P. t. trilopha
        |    |         `--P. t. antarctica von Lendenfeld 1907
        |    `--Oscarella carmela
        |--Tethya Lamarck 1814 [incl. Donatia Nardo 1833; Donatiida, Tethyidae]
        |    |--T. aurantium (Pallas 1766) [incl. T. limski Müller & Zahn 1968]
        |    |--T. clavigera Hentschel 1912
        |    |--T. lyncurium
        |    |--T. maza Selenka 1893
        |    `--‘Donatia’ tylota Hentschel 1912

* Type species of generic name indicated


Barash, A., & Z. Danin. 1986. Further additions to the knowledge of Indo-Pacific Mollusca in the Mediterranean Sea (Lessepsian migrants). Spixiana 9 (2): 117-141.

Barnich, R., & D. Janussen. 2006. Die Typen und Typoide des Naturmuseums Senckenberg, Nr. 86. Type catalogue of the Porifera in the collections of the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Senckenbergiana Biologica 86 (2): 127-144.

Bidder, G. P. 1930. On the classification of sponges. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London 141: 44-47.

Bigelow, H. B. 1926. Plankton of the offshore waters of the Gulf of Maine. Bulletin of the Bureau of Fisheries 40 (2): 1-509.

Bouchet, P., J.-P. Rocroi, J. Frýda, B. Hausdorf, W. Ponder, Á. Valdés & A. Warén. 2005. Classification and nomenclator of gastropod families. Malacologia 47 (1-2): 1-397.

Brooke, C., & R. Riding. 1998. Ordovician and Silurian coralline red algae. Lethaia 31: 185-195.

Buss, L. W. 1979. Habitat selection, directional growth and spatial refuges: Why colonial animals have more hiding places. In Biology and Systematics of Colonial Organisms (G. Larwood & B. R. Rosen, eds.) pp. 459-497. Academic Press: London.

Castro, P., & M. E. Huber. 1997. Marine Biology, 2nd ed. WCB McGraw-Hill: Boston.

Cavalier-Smith, T., & E. E.-Y. Chao. 2003. Phylogeny of Choanozoa, Apusozoa, and other Protozoa and early eukaryote megaevolution. Journal of Molecular Evolution 56: 540-563.

Clarke, J. A., C. P. Tambussi, J. I. Noriega, G. M. Erickson & R. A. Ketcham. 2005. Definitive fossil evidence for the extant avian radiation in the Cretaceous. Nature 433: 305-308.

Curtis, A. S. G. 1979. Individuality and graft rejection in sponges or A cellular basis for individuality in sponges. In Biology and Systematics of Colonial Organisms (G. Larwood & B. R. Rosen, eds.) pp. 39-48. Academic Press: London.

Dardeau, M. R. 1984. Synalpheus shrimps (Crustacea: Decapoda: Alpheidae). I. The Gambarelloides group, with a description of a new species. Memoirs of the Hourglass Cruises 7 (2): 1-125.

Elliott, K. J., L. R. Boring & W. T. Swank. 1998. Changes in vegetation structure and diversity after grass-to-forest succession in a southern Appalachian watershed. American Midland Naturalist 140: 219-232.

Fromont, J., K. L. Usher, D. C. Sutton, S. Toze & J. Kuo. 2008. Species of the sponge genus Chondrilla (Demospongiae: Chondrosida: Chondrillidae) in Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 24 (4): 469-486.

Fry, W. G. 1979. Taxonomy, the individual and the sponge. In Biology and Systematics of Colonial Organisms (G. Larwood & B. R. Rosen, eds.) pp. 49-80. Academic Press: London.

Harmer, S. F. 1930. Presidential address. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London 141: 68-118.

Hayward, B. W., A. B. Stephenson, M. S. Morley, W. M. Blom, H. R. Grenfell, F. J. Brook, J. L. Riley, F. Thompson & J. J. Hayward. 2001. Marine biota of Parengarenga Harbour, Northland, New Zealand. Records of the Auckland Museum 37: 45-80.

Hedley, C. 1909. The Marine Fauna of Queensland: Address by the President of Section D. Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science: Brisbane.

Ivanov, A. V. 1995. The Marinaculata - a new phylum of animals from the Cretaceous and Paleogene. Paleontologicheskii Zhurnal 1995 (2): 14-20 (transl. Paleontological Journal 29 (2): 13-21).

Jiménez-Guri, E., H. Philippe, B. Okamura & P. W. H. Holland. 2007. Buddenbrockia is a cnidarian worm. Science 317: 116-118.

Krylov, M. V. 1992. The origin of heteroxeny in Sporozoa. Parazitologiya 26 (5): 361-368.

Kwiecinski, G. G. 2006. Phyllostomus discolor. Mammalian Species 801: 1-11.

Lee, W. L. 2001. Four new species of Forcepia (Porifera, Demospongiae, Poecilosclerida, Coelosphaeridae) from California, and synonymy of Wilsa de Laubenfels, 1930, with Forcepia, Carter, 1874. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 52 (18): 227-244.

Menzies, R. J., & W. L. Kruczynski. 1983. Isopod Crustacea (exclusive of Epicaridea). Memoirs of the Hourglass Cruises 6 (1): 1-126.

Peel, J. S., & E. L. Yochelson. 1984. Permian Toxeumorphorida from Greenland: an appraisal of the molluscan class Xenoconchia. Lethaia 17: 211-221.

Rigby, J. K., & D. W. Boyd. 2004. Sponges from the Park City Formation (Permian) of Wyoming. Journal of Paleontology 78 (1): 71-76.

Simons, E. L. 1961. An anthropoid mandible from the Oligocene Fayum beds of Egypt. American Museum Novitates 2051: 1-5.

Soest, R. W. M. van, & M. Velikonja. 1986. Porifera. In Stygofauna Mundi: A Faunistic, Distributional, and Ecological Synthesis of the World Fauna inhabiting Subterranean Waters (including the Marine Interstitial) (L. Botosaneanu, ed.) pp. 30-32. E. J. Brill / Dr. W. Backhuys: Leiden.

Sun W. G., Wang G. X. & Zhou B. H. 1986. Macroscopic worm-like body fossils from the upper Precambrian (900-700 Ma), Hiainan district, Anhui, China and their stratigraphic and evolutionary significance. Precambrian Research 31: 377-403.

Teichert, C. 1964a. Endoceratoidea. In Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology pt. K. Mollusca 3. Cephalopoda – General Features – Endoceratoidea – Actinoceratoidea – Nautiloidea – Bactritoidea (R. C. Moore, ed.) pp. K160-K189. The Geological Society of America and the University of Kansas Press.

Teichert, C. 1964b. Doubtful taxa. In Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology pt. K. Mollusca 3. Cephalopoda – General Features – Endoceratoidea – Actinoceratoidea – Nautiloidea – Bactritoidea (R. C. Moore, ed.) pp. K484-K490. The Geological Society of America and the University of Kansas Press.

Tendal, O. S. 1972. A monograph of the Xenophyophoria (Rhizopodea, Protozoa). Galathea Report 12: 7-99.

Waghorn, R. J. 1927. The geology of the Ruakokopatuna Valley, southern Wairarapa. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 226-234.

Watson, L. 1981. Sea Guide to Whales of the World. Hutchinson: London.

Xiao, S., B. Shen, C. Zhou, G. Xie & X. Yuan. 2005. A uniquely preserved Ediacaran fossil with direct evidence for a quilted bodyplan. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 102: 10227-10232.

Yochelson, E. L., & W. J. Hlavin. 1985. Coleolus curvatus Kindle ("Vermes") from the Cleveland Member of the Ohio Shale, late Devonian (Famennian) of Ohio. Journal of Paleontology 59 (5): 1298-1304.

Yu W. 1992. On the occurrence of Spirina in China. Wuyi Science Journal 9: 283-285.

Zrzavý, J., V. Hypša & D. F. Tietz. 2001. Myzostomida are not annelids: Molecular and morphological support for a clade of animals with anterior sperm flagella. Cladistics 17: 170-198.


MAK030430; taxonomy Christopher 23:05, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

Personal tools