Myrmekioderma granulatum ( Esper, 1829 )

Calcinai, Barbara, Belfiore, Giuseppe, Pica, Daniela, Torsani, Fabrizio, Palma, Marco & Cerrano, Carlo, 2020, Porifera from Ponta do Ouro (Mozambique), European Journal of Taxonomy 698, pp. 1-56 : 21-22

publication ID 10.5852/ejt.2020.698

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Myrmekioderma granulatum ( Esper, 1829 )


Myrmekioderma granulatum ( Esper, 1829)

Fig. 12 View Fig

Alcyonium granulatum Esper, 1829: 71 , pl. 24.

Material examined

PONTA DO OURO • 1 fragment 3×2 × 1 cm; 26°49′50.408″ S, 32°53′45.97″ E; Doodle; 17.6 m deep; 20 Apr. 2017; Cerrano leg.; PO98 GoogleMaps .


Live sponge massive, bulbous, partially burrowing ( Fig. 12A View Fig ) and with the surface covered by large, circular, low, rounded plates, similar to flat tubercles. Color bright orange, while the tubercles are darkred, brownish colored ( Fig. 12A View Fig ); the sample preserved in alcohol is beige. The sponge is fleshy and compressible. The surface appears smooth, but is micro-hispid at microscope magnification.

SKELETON. Ectosome composed of brushes of densely packed spicules ( Fig. 12B View Fig ). Choanosome constituted by a lax skeleton of ascending fibers of oxeas ( Fig. 12B View Fig ).

SPICULES. Oxeas microspined, slightly curved or flexuous ( Fig. 12C View Fig ), 260–(415, 176.6)– 840 µm ×7.5– (10, 2)– 12.5 µm, tips acerate or stepped ( Fig. 12D View Fig ); less common, smooth oxeas with same characteristics; very thin raphids, in thricodragmas, on the surface 22.5–(29.25)– 50 µm.


The specimen belongs to the genus Myrmekioderma Elhers, 1870 characterized by a halichondroid organization of the choanosomal skeleton, a detachable ectosomal skeleton of acanthoxeas and by the presence of trichodragmata on the surface ( Hooper 2002).

To date, there are 11 species belonging to this genus, six of which have records only in the Atlantic Ocean ( Van Soest et al. 2019). Among the others, Myrmekioderma niveum (Row, 1911) presents a yellowish-white color and has just one category of smooth oxeas. Myrmekioderma dendyi ( Burton, 1959) was recorded from Madagascar ( Van Soest et al. 2019), but is characterized by an even surface with some digitate processes. Myrmekioderma pacificum Pulitzer-Finali, 1996 from the Bismark Sea has smooth and thicker oxeas (7–45 µm) with, sometimes, strongylote modifications (never found in this specimen) and longer trichodragmata (100–130 µm). Myrmekioderma tubercolatum (Keller, 1891) , found in the Red Sea, has a different morphology and the spicule composition is different, with the absence of trichodragmata and the presence of strongylote modifications.

The very peculiar external morphology, with the rounded plates and the oxea shape, fit the descriptions of Myrmekioderma granulatum ( Esper, 1829) . This species has a wide distribution in the Indian and Pacific Ocean ( Van Soest et al. 2019), with a corresponding high degree of variability, even concerning the presence or the absence of some spicule category ( Bergquist 1965).














Myrmekioderma granulatum ( Esper, 1829 )

Calcinai, Barbara, Belfiore, Giuseppe, Pica, Daniela, Torsani, Fabrizio, Palma, Marco & Cerrano, Carlo 2020

Alcyonium granulatum

Esper E. J. C. 1829: 71
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