Lemon Sponge Leucetta chagosensis
The lemon sponge is a beautiful, bright yellow color and is easy to spot underwater. It grows in the form of sacs, which may have an irregular, lobed shape. Each sac has a large opening—the osculum—through which used water flows out of the sponge. Through the osculum, entrances to the water-intake channels that run throughout the sponge can be seen. The lemon sponge belongs to a small class of sponges in which the mineral skeleton is composed entirely of calcium carbonate spicules, most of which have three or four rays. The densely packed spicules give the sponge a solid texture. Like all sponges, the lemon sponge is hermaphroditic. It incubates its eggs inside and releases them as live larvae through the osculum. Each larva is a hollow ball of cells with flagellae for swimming.
- Class Calcarea
- Width Up to 8 in (20 cm)
- Depth Shallow
- Habitat Steep coral reef and rock slopes
- Distribution Tropical reef waters of western Pacific