Polymastia penicillus (Montagu, 1818)

Polymastia penicillus

Description: The body of this sponge is orange to yellow in colour and the papillae are pale yellow. The sponge consists of a low, spreading cushion (up to 1 cm thick), with papillae projecting above the sediment covered body. The papillae are differentiated into inhalant and exhalant; the exhalant papillae are large, few in number and open at one end, and can be easily distinguished from the thinner inhalant papillae.

Habitat: This species is usually found on upward facing bedrock, or at a sediment/bedrock interface with the body of the sponge beneath a layer of sediment and the papillae projecting through it.

Distribution: A common species on western and southern coasts of the British Isles, also reported from the Arctic, Atlantic coasts of Europe, Mediterranean and N. America.

Similar Species: This species was previously called Polymastia mamillaris in Britain. Polymastia mamillaris is now known to be a distinct species, found in Scandinavia but not currently known from Britain and Ireland. There are several other papillate sponges with which P. penicillus may be confused including several undescribed Polymastia species and Ciocalypta penicillus.

Key Identification Features:

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

WoRMS: Species record : World Register of Marine Species.

iNaturalist: Species account : iNaturalist World Species Observations database

 Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C. (2016). Polymastia penicillus (Montagu, 1818). [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland.
https://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/species.asp?item=C2610 Accessed on 2024-06-14

[Show species list]