Haliclona urceolus (Rathke & Vahl, 1806)


Family : Chalinidae

Form: Tubular, perhaps even bell shaped; with thin hard flexible stalk and terminal oscules. May have a single tube or several branches of the main stalk, or the body of sponge may branch; the branches may anastomose, and may be slightly flattened. Body to ca. 15cm long, with stalk typically less than half of the body length, proportionally more in smaller specimens.

Colour: Beige, ?yellow?

Smell: None to 'slight spongy'.

Consistency: Soft, flexible.

Surface: Smooth.

Apertures: Oscules are large, terminal.

Contraction: Not noticeable.

Internal characters

Skeleton: A rather irregular net, one or two spicules thick.

Spicules: Oxea 110-155 x 3-7Ám. Sizes may vary with geographical latitude, or water temperature.

Habitat: On rock, wreck, shell fragments etc. Found both in areas exposed to tide, and those with little water movement. Characteristic of vertical rock faces, but also can be found on more gently sloping surfaces.

Distribution: Known recently from Rathlin Is; Skye; Tiree; W. coast of Scotland (Garvellachs, Easdale, L. Melfort,L. Fyne, L. Long, Clyde); Lundy; Skomer.

Distribution Map: NBN map : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.

Identity: Previously two species were thought to have been involved. "Haliclona clava" with erect, cylindrical, smooth tubes, and "Haliclona urceolus" with a softer, limper, consistency and more shaggy appearance. However the high degree of overlap between these forms convinced de Weerdt of their synonymy.

Voucher: BELUM : Mc647. Coll, Hebrides.

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

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