Placospongia cristata Boury-Esnault, 1973

Bettcher, Larissa, Fernandez, Julio C. C., Gastaldi, Marianela, Bispo, André, Leal, Camille V., Leite, Dora, Avelino-Alves, Dhara, Clerier, Pedro H. B., Rezende, Dafinny, Gulart, Clara M. R., Pinheiro, Ulisses & Hajdu, Eduardo, 2023, Checklist, diversity descriptors and selected descriptions of a highly diverse intertidal sponge (Porifera) assemblage at Costa do Descobrimento (Bahia, Brazil), Zootaxa 5277 (3), pp. 443-489 : 465

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.5277.3.2

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Placospongia cristata Boury-Esnault, 1973


Placospongia cristata Boury-Esnault, 1973 View in CoL

( Tables 1–2, 7; Figures 10A–J View FIGURE 10 )

Synonymy. Placospongia melobesioides, sensu Schmidt (1870) [non P. melobesioides Gray, 1867b ]. Detailed synonymy in van Soest (2009).

Studied material. MNRJ 20489 View Materials , Mucugê (16°29.861′ S, 39°4.068′ W, Arraial D’Ajuda , Porto Seguro, BA, Brazil), intertidal, coll. Leite D., 20 th March 2019 GoogleMaps ; MNRJ 20508 View Materials , Coroa Vermelha Reef (16°19.384′ S, 38°59.927′ W, Santa Cruz Cabrália, BA, Brazil), intertidal, coll. Hajdu, E. & Fioravanso, A. 21 st March 2019 GoogleMaps .

Description. Thickly encrusting (less than 1 mm thick), 2.8 cm maximum length, with slender plates (<1 mm thick) and grooves (ca. 1 mm wide) on the surface. Consistency hard, but plates feel like crunchy flakes. Color in vivo orangey-brown overall, dull on plates and brighter in the grooves. Dark beige in fixative ( Fig. 10A View FIGURE 10 ).

Skeleton. Ectosome with cortical plates of selenasters and smaller tylostyles. The choanosome with abundant dispersed spicules of every kind, aside the larger tylostyles, organised in ascending columns up to 200 µm thick beneath the cortical plates ( Figs. 10B–D View FIGURE 10 ).

Spicules. Megascleres ( Tab. 7; Figs. 10E–F View FIGURE 10 ): tylostyles, 251–480.1–797 x 6–10.1–15 µm. Microscleres ( Tab. 7): selenasters, 54‒61.8‒71 x 39‒49.0‒55 µm (larger diameter x smaller diameter; Fig. 10G View FIGURE 10 ); spherasters, 15‒17.9‒ 25 µm ( Fig. 10H View FIGURE 10 ); and microrhabds (varying among microspherasters, microamphiasters, microspirasters; Fig. 10I View FIGURE 10 ), ca. 1.4‒2.3 µm (n= 2).

Distribution. Previously Pernambuco ( Brazil — Boury-Esnault 1973), Caribbean ( Curaçao — Arndt 1927; Barbados — Hechtel 1969). New record—Costa do Descobrimento, BA, Brazil. The species had been previously recorded for BA (Todos os Santos Bay, Salvador), but without any accompanying description ( Bispo et al. 2006).

Ecology. Spreading over calcareous substrate in a sciophilous microhabitat, next to a diverse assemblage of organisms comprising other sponges, and abundant filamentous organisms. This species appears rarer than P. ruetzleri in the study area (our observations) as well as from other areas of BA ( Mácola & Menegola 2021).

Remarks. Currently, the distinction between the Western Atlantic P. cristata and the Indo-Western Pacific P. melobesioides rests on the tylostyles of the latter reaching larger dimensions. Van Soest (2009) suggests that microspherasters (= microrhabds in the present study) could be present in the type material of P. cristata , which is confirmed by Dr. J. Sandes (pers. com.; Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), who has analysed the species’ type material. Moreover, we found a few spirasters in specimen MNRJ 20489; ca. 20 µm long, which seem to be absent from the type specimen (Dr. J. Sandes, pers. com.; Museu Nacional).

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