Four new species of 'killer' sea sponges have been discovered in the Pacific Ocean. Staffers from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute or MBARI for short led the study behind the finding.
Four new species of sea sponges have been discovered in the Pacific Ocean. Staffers from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute or MBARI for short led the study behind the finding.
The new species are considered to be ‘killer sponges’ because they’re carnivorous. They are certainly beautiful marine life forms, but aside from their appearance is a cut-throat approach to surviving in the ocean where food is often scarce.
The ‘killer sponges’ prey on amphipods, similar in size to shrimp or other similar small animals. While most sponges under the ocean’s surface are filter feeders that utilize special cells equipped with miniscule, beating tails to lure in prey, these new species have a far more efficient technique.
The ‘killer sponges’ are outfitted with wire-like hairs and hooks that essentially snatch up food. Those hooks allow them to catch larger crustaceans.
After the prey has been captured, the ‘killer sponges’ digest the food over a course of several hours and in the end the only thing that’s left in a sponge’s grasp is a tiny shell.
Lonny Lundsten, a senior research technician at MBARI and his team used remotely operated underwater vehicles to film the sponges intricately capturing their prey.