Australian scientists have found in the depths of the ocean previously unknown species of predatory sponges.
The new organisms – Nullarbora heptaxia, Abyssocladia oxyasters and Lycopodina hystrix – live in a particular area of the Gulf of Greater Australia. Sponges are multicellular animals that obtain food by filtering flowing seawater. They have no nervous, digestive and circulatory systems, but some predatory sponges use special trapping mechanisms to hunt.
These are the first predatory sponges found in South Australia, and they increase the total number of sponge species in the region to 25.
The three new species form three new genera and are also closely related to the new non-predatory sponge Guitarra davidconryi. They live at depths ranging from 163 to three thousand meters. The discovery was made using teleoperated unmanned submersibles as well as submersible samplers.