Endectyon delaubenfelsi Burton, 1930


Family : Raspailiidae

Form: Branching-erect with a clearly differentiated stalk. Overall, the main branches tend to lie in one plane, but small branches can grow in different planes. Branching is very irregular, with a strong tendency to lateral coalescence. To about 6.5cms in height.

Colour: Golden yellow.

Smell: None.

Consistency: Soft to compact. Out of water the sponge is limp and flexible.

Surface: Uneven, markedly tuberculate. Velutinous,moderate friction.

Apertures: Not visible.

Contraction: None.

Internal characters

Skeleton: Plumoreticulate with a dense axial condensation of reticulating small styles and acanthostyles, that form short bundles rising to the surface in the extra-axial skeleton. Brushes of long styles penetrate the surface.

Spicules: Most of the spicules present are smooth styles (a). The short styles may be straight, or curved towards the head, 155-245 x 4-7Ám. The long styles are smooth and usually straight, 600-1060 x 6-12Ám. Occasional styles show characteristic deformations, e.g. branching points, or a short style crossing the main one. The acanthostyles (b) are sparsely spined, sometimes with a characteristic rosette of 4-6 spines at the head or point. They appear to be rarer than the deformed styles, and it is possible to demonstrate a transition in form between the two types of spicules. Once located in a section the shape of the acanthostyles is very distinctive. There are no microscleres.

Habitat: The two specimens in GA's collection were found at the interface between bedrock and gravel. More habitat information is required. From 25-80m.

Distribution: Plymouth, Salcombe, Lundy, Channel Isles, Brittany.

Distribution Map from NBN: Grid map (fast) : Interactive map (slower, requires login to view records) : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.

Identity: The shaggy appearance and tuberculate surface are characteristic. Another Endectyon species, E. teissieri Cabioch 1968 is known from Brittany, but has an external form more like that of Axinella flustra (q.v.), a different skeleton, and long strongyles in place of the long styles. A superficial resemblance to Stelligera rigida (q.v.) is possible, but the latter is more squat and bush-like, and slimy. Burton (1930) maintains that it is impossible to differentiate Endectyon delaubenfelsi from Raspailia ventilabrum (Bowerbank, 1866: 100) externally, but the latter species has not yet been recognised in this guide.

Voucher: BELUM : Mc705. Lundy Is., Bristol Channel.

Editors: D. Moss, B.E. Picton.

 Picton, B.E., Morrow, C.C. & van Soest, R.W.B., 2011. [In] Sponges of Britain and Ireland