Strange Animals – Sponges!

Sponges at Elphinstone, Red Sea, Egypt #SCUBA

Image Credit: Flickr User Derek Keats, via CC

Is there a mistake in the title of this post? Many people would think so. They think that Sponges are plants and not animals. It would really seem so because sponges stay in one place, and stay attached to an underwater coral or a rock. They don’t have any body parts – as one would expect animals to have some.

Even scientists thought so for a long time until they observed to see how they ate the food – by pulling the food in their bodies. Sponges come in all shapes and sizes. Some spread over a large area like moss where as some stand upright like trees. Some are really tiny where as some are huge (almost as tall as a person). Some are smooth and soft where as some are hard like a rock. In fact, some are not even spongy they have glass like skeleton. However different they might seem, we can say one thing for sure that the sponges do brighten up the sea life.

A Sponge survives only by drinking water. Wonder if humans could do that too:)). The body of a sponge is jelly like from the inside with a thin layer of cells on the side. It is porous, and the water keeps flowing in and out. Well, the sponge strains the water that passes through its body for all the nutrients that the water carries. Sponge is not fussy and eat bacteria or anything that is mixed in the water. However, a few sponge species are known snack on small fish and crustaceans on the reefs.

Some sponges provide a haven for some fish and shrimps that make home inside them. The smarter ones move around the sea by attaching themselves  to crab shell, taking a ride as the crab moves. Hmm! Another interesting fact about sponges is that they are hermaphrodite. That means that sponges can pretend to be mama sponges or dad sponges whenever they want to. Wow!

The fact that they cant move much or move very little makes them an easy prey, but most do not touch them because of their foul taste and smell.

Did you know?
The ancient Greeks and Romans used the sponges in their helmet and armour to soften the blows of the enemy.

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