Common Name: Freshwater Sponge
Scientific Name: Spongilla lacustris
Species: S. lacustris
Freshwater sponges are crustlike, branched, or clumped. The texture is fragile and soft, and the color is whitish or green. Freshwater sponges have irregularly scattered and barely visible water-exit holes. The surface is uneven and roughened by spicules.
Freshwater sponges live in North America, Europe, and Asia. Freshwater sponges live in standing and running fresh water. Freshwater sponges are filter feeders. Scientists know little about how freshwater sponges behave. These sponges reproduce asexually by forming buds in late summer that spend the winter in a dormant state and emerge from the adult in the spring. Freshwater sponges reproduce sexually during the summer, giving birth to live larvae.
Freshwater sponges have no known importance to people. Some scientists believe they may be helpful as indicators of water pollution. Freshwater sponges are not threatened or endangered. Any of about 20 species of the genus Spongilla (class Demospongiae, siliceous sponges), a common, widely occurring group. Spongilla species are found in clean lake waters and slow streams.
I learned that it would be quite a feat for a person to drink 64 glasses of water every day, but in effect that is just what some sponges do. They filter that much water through their bodies every 24 hours, absorbing oxygen from the water and feeding on waterborne food particles.
Author: Dorothy A