Common Name: Goiter Sponge
Scientific Name: Heterochone calyx
Species: H. calyx
Everyone knows that corrals build large and beautiful reefs, such as the Great Barrier Reef. Did you know there are sponges that also build reefs? Members of the class hexactinellid, the glass sponges, do build reefs. These reefs are rare and there is only one place where the conditions are right for this type of reef. The western Canadian continental shelf is the only known sponge reefs. Heterochone calyx or the yellow goiter sponge is one of the species of reef building sponges. It normally grows 1.5 meters tall and 70 cm around. Its wall tends to be around 1 cm thick, and there are finger like protrusions that are 20 cm long and have a diameter of 5 cm.
Despite its name it can be white or yellow. Like all sponges the goiter sponge is a filter feeder the filters deep water sediment for biological particles that it and absorb nutrients from. One interesting fact about these sponges is that the glass spicules will last for hundreds of years after the sponge has died. Theses ancient natural wonders have now received the protection of interested governments that wish to preserve these monumental reefs. Banning of drag nets has made needed protections to preserve reefs that has existed for over 10,000 years. The goiter sponge is interesting, because it is one of the few sponges that can build up reefs.
Author: Vivian Y
Photo Credit: http://gsc.nrcan.gc.ca/marine/sponge/fauna_e.php