Chondrilla caribensis Rützler, Duran & Piantoni, 2007,

Rützler, Klaus, Piantoni, Carla, Van, Rob W. M. & Díaz, Cristina, 2014, Diversity of sponges (Porifera) from cryptic habitats on the Belize barrier reef near Carrie Bow Cay, Zootaxa 3805 (1), pp. 1-129: 53

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Chondrilla caribensis Rützler, Duran & Piantoni, 2007


Chondrilla caribensis Rützler, Duran & Piantoni, 2007 

( Figure 2View FIGURE 2 f)

Synonymy and references. Chondrilla caribensis Rützler, Duran & Piantoni (2007): 100  , tab. 3, figs. 4–7; Chondrilla nucula ( Schmidt, 1862)  : Macintyre et al. (1982): 134.

Material. USNM 1191346, Carrie Bow Cay, under concrete dock, 0.5–1; K. Ruetzler, col. 12 May 1978. USNM 32862 Columbus Cay cave, Belize, 18–21 m; I. G. Macintyre & G. Hendler, col. 26 Apr 1979. USNM 1191347, Carrie Bow reef flat, inside dead conch shells, 1 m; K. Ruetzler and C. Piantoni col. 23 Feb 2006.

External morphology. Lobed cushions, about 1 cm thick, covering up to 85 cm 2 of substrate. Smooth and slippery-feeling surface, with small (1–2 mm) oscula elevated on lobes; cartilaginous consistency (a common name is chicken-liver sponge). Color olive, light brown to white, depending on habitat illumination which controls density of symbiotic cyanobacteria.

Skeleton structure. Astrose spicules dispersed throughout the body but concentrated near the outer surface and along the canals of the aquiferous system.

Spicules. These are spherasters and spheroxyasters, measuring 20–36 (29) Μm in total diameter, about two thirds taken up by the solid center; there are about 25 rays on average.

Ecology. Occurs in a wide range of habitats, from full light exposure on subtidal mangrove roots to dark caves, at least to 30 m depth.

Distribution. Tropical and subtropical western Atlantic, from Bermuda to Brazil.

Comments. This symbiotic species is tolerant of the full range of ambient light conditions but loses all pigmentation, including symbiotic cyanobacteria, when growing in the dark.


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History