Video: Carnivorous Harp Sponge Discovered Off California Coast

Posted on November 17, 2012

This extraordinary harp sponge, Chondrocladia lyra, was discovered in the deep sea off the coast of California. The harp sponge captures tiny crustaceans with barbed hooks on its branching limbs. After catching a tomy crustacean, the harp sponge envelops it in a thin membrane and then slowly digests it. Another unusual feature of the harp sponge is its reproduction. The swollen balls at the top of its branches produce sperm packets, which are released in the ocean current. The current carries the sperm to the branches of nearby harp sponges, where the sperm can fertilize eggs. Take a look:

A research paper on the harp sponge was published here in Invertebrate Biology.

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