Common Name: Yellow Boring Sponge
Scientific Name: Cliona celata
Species: C. celata
Cliona celata may be a “boring sponge”, but not how you think it is. It has the ability to bore through solid rock, like the others in the genus Cliona. C. celata can be up to 100 cm across and 50 cm high, but they can be smaller, also. They have a coloration of different shades of yellow, but in some cases, red coloration around the openings. It can adapt to many environments with its different gross body forms. These forms are ridged, burrowing, massive, massive/chimneys, encrusting, or encrusting/chimneys. It is easy to recognize C. celata because of its color and sieve-like openings.
In fact, its striking features make it easy to recognize and hard to miss! Cliona celata can be located in many places, but they are most commonly found in shallow water. They thrive in their ecosystem because they can easily find oysters and small shells that they can feed off of because of their ability to bore through solid rock. This gives them a definite advantage with a constant supply of food. This keeps them fed and thriving. Cliona celata can be found in any place from the Western Atlantic North to Great Britain. They are commonly being found in many new places, but there are no known Cliona celata beyond those boundaries.
The yellow boring sponge not only thrives in its environment, it also does a great deal of help for it. A few shells in the ocean may be fine, but what would happen if the shells were never removed? Shells would accumulate and cover the ocean floor. Animals that live on the ocean floor would lose their environment. Fishes that camouflage with the ocean floor would have trouble hiding from their predators. The whole food chain would change. Well, you can thank Cliona celata for that not happening. Their ability to bore through solid rock gives them prey that lives in shells. Therefore, the more Cliona celata you have, the better the shells on the sea floor are cleaned up.
In the food web, Cliona celata is a definite predator. Since sponges are not eaten, they are able to thrive by eating shells. They are well-fed by these shells and the population is increasing from it. But since they are not the only animals that can bore through solid rock, they have to compete with other boring sponges (genus Cliona). This can sometimes make it hard, but they can still stay at a good number and still do great in the food web. There is enough sea shells to go around for boring sponges.
Cliona celata is anything but “boring”. A very interesting animal, Cliona celata’s ability to bore through solid rock is purely astonishing. And this fact leads to the amazing realization… what would happen to the ocean without Cliona celata? It clears out shells from there being too many and helps their whole ecosystem! Cliona celata may be just a small sponge, but it has a huge impact. Their interesting ability helps not only them, but their ecosystem.
Author: Sarah B
"Cliona Celata." Marine Life Encyclopedia. 13 Feb. 2008 .
"Cliona Celata." MarLIN. 13 Feb. 2008 . Marine Biology. 140th ed. Vol. 1. Berlin/Heidelberg. 75-81.
Jon Gross and Keith Clements