Characella poecillastroides Van Soest, Meesters & Becking, 2014,

Van, Rob W. M., 2017, Sponges of the Guyana Shelf, Zootaxa 1, pp. 1-225: 101-102

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Characella poecillastroides Van Soest, Meesters & Becking, 2014


Characella poecillastroides Van Soest, Meesters & Becking, 2014 

Figures 62View FIGURE 62 a –g

Characella poecillastroides Van Soest et al., 2014: 410  , figs 6a –d, 7a –e.

Material examined. RMNH Por. 9822, Suriname, ‘Luymes’ Guyana Shelf Expedition, station 1, 7.1667°N 53.5833°W, depth 104–130 m, bottom sandy calcarenite, 24 August 1970GoogleMaps  .

Description. Two fragments of a flattened sponge ( Fig. 62View FIGURE 62 a), overall size 11 x 7 x 2 cm. Surface smooth where not overgrown by a other sponges, but rough and hard in exposed places. Color in alcohol yellowish beige.

Skeleton. Ectosomal skeleton with a crust of acanthomicroxeas, carried by bundles of long oxeas and confusedly arranged plagiotriaenes. Choanosome with confused mass of spicules. The surface bears a crust of Parahigginsia cf. strongylifera  (see above).

Spicules. ( Figs 62View FIGURE 62 b –g) Oxeas, plagiotriaenes, amphiasters, acanthomicroxeas.

Oxeas ( Figs 62View FIGURE 62 b,b1) fusiform, curved, rather abruptly pointed, quite variable in length, 1350– 1943 –2450 x 34 – 55.2 –71 µm.

Plagiotriaenes ( Fig. 62View FIGURE 62 c), short-shafted, but usually the rhabd and the cladi are distinct, rhabdomes 294– 397 –520 x 24 – 29.5 –36 µm, cladomes 288– 334 –390 µm, cladi 126– 185 –234 x 23 – 26.2 –30 µm,

Amphiasters ( Fig. 62View FIGURE 62 d), with relatively robust and finely spined rays, overall diameter 16– 18.2 –21 µm.

Acanthomicroxeas ( Figs 62View FIGURE 62 e –g), in two to three size categories, (1) larger ( Figs 62View FIGURE 62 e,e1) 210–256–282 x 5 – 6.0 –6.5 µm, (2) intermediate ( Fig. 62View FIGURE 62 f), rare (n=4) 76–172 x 2–3 µm and (3) small ( Fig. 62View FIGURE 62 g) 34– 43 – 51 x 2.5– 3.1 –3.5 µm.

Distribution and ecology. Guyana Shelf, Bonaire, sandy and rocky bottoms at 104–168 m depth.

Remarks. The fragments reported here are closely similar in habit and spicules to the type. The plagiotriaenes are slightly smaller and there is a rare middle-sized acanthomicroxea (70–170 µm), which is not reported from the type.

The surface is encrusted by what appears to be a Parahigginsia  rather similar to what was recently described as P. strongylifera  , because of the possession of the characteristic acanthomicroxeas with thin erect spines. See above for a description and discussion. Remarkably, instead of strongyles, the spicules are thickly fusiform oxeas arranged in a confused reticulation. These spicules are also shorter, 171–204 x 9–14 µm than the strongyles of the type (290–370 x 10–18 µm). It remains to be decided whether the present encrustation falls within the variation of P. strongylifera  .

Puerto Rican Characella enae ( De Laubenfels, 1934)  (as Neothenea  , p. 5), (type specimen USNM 22321, slide re-examined), shows a general similarity to C. poecillastroides  . It has a flabellate shape, but its megascleres are consistently much longer and thicker than those of C. poecillastroides  : oxeas up to 12 mm x 106 µm, plagiotriaenes and dichotriaenes (not found in C. poecillastroides  ) with cladi similarly up to 100 µm in thickness, amphiasters are 25–30 µm and acanthomicroxeas show less differentiation in size categories.


National Museum of Natural History, Naturalis


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History














Characella poecillastroides Van Soest, Meesters & Becking, 2014

Van, Rob W. M. 2017

Characella poecillastroides

Van Soest et al. 2014: 410