Hemimycale columella (Bowerbank, 1874)

Hemimycale columella

Description: This sponge grows as a thin sheet or cushion in patches 10-15cm across. It is normally pale orange/pink in colour but occasionally it is bright red. The surface is covered in shallow, circular, non-contractile depressions of varying diameters. The rims of these depressions are usually lighter coloured than the rest of the body. The depressions contain the inhalant pores, and are covered by a fine, gauze-like mesh.

Habitat: A common species in areas with silt free, infralittoral bedrock and boulders. Apparently not found in harbours.

Distribution: Recently known from scattered localities all around the British Isles, but currently not recorded from North Sea coasts.

Similar Species: Provided the colour is pale orange-pink and the rims of the depressions are of a lighter colour, the identification stands a good chance of being correct, but in case of doubt microscopic examination is essential. Several other genera contain species which have depressions with rims which are the same colour as the general surface (see e.g. Phorbas fictitius and Hymedesmia pauperatus.

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). Hemimycale columella (Bowerbank, 1874). [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland.
https://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/species.asp?item=C7750 Accessed on 2024-07-13

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