Researchers ID Four New Killer Sponges
Killer sponges sound like creatures from a B-grade horror movie. In fact, they thrive in the lightless depths of the deep sea. Scientists first discovered that some sponges are carnivorous about 20 years ago. Since then only seven carnivorous species have been found in all of the northeastern Pacific. A new paper authored by Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute marine biologist Lonny Lundsten and two Canadian researchers describes four new species of carnivorous sponges living on the deep seafloor, from the Pacific Northwest to Baja California.
A far cry from your basic kitchen sponge, these animals look more like bare twigs or small shrubs covered with tiny hairs. But the hairs consist of tightly packed bundles of microscopic hooks that trap small animals such as shrimp-like amphipods. Once an animal becomes trapped, it takes only a few hours for sponge cells to begin engulfing and digesting it. After several days, all that is left is an empty shell.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/04/researchers-id-four-new-killer-sponges
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