Euplectella is a genus that comprises marine sponges. They are also known as glass sponges due to the presence of siliceous spicules. It includes Venus’ flower baskets. They are found abundantly in marine water, deep in the ocean. Their body is curved, tubular, basket-like, or vase-shaped. Water circulates through the canal system. The canal system is syconoid type. They are found in symbiotic association with shrimps and also given as a wedding gift in Japan – symbolizing togetherness till death.
Euplectella Classification and Examples
Euplectella is classified under the phylum Porifera. They belong to the class Hexactinellida, characterized by the skeleton of six-rayed triaxon spicules.
The common species of Euplectella is Euplectella aspergillum.
Euplectella Structure and Characteristics
- The body is cylindrical and basket-like, which is attached to the bottom of the sea by a tuft of fibres
- The skeleton is made up of triaxon spicules. The siliceous spicules give a glassy appearance to them
- True Ostia are absent. Numerous perforations at the outer surface are parietal gaps
- A well-connected canal system is present for water circulation. The canal system is syconoid. The incurrent canals are connected to radial canals and open into spongocoel inside the body and outside through osculum
- There is a lining of choanocytes in the radial canal
- A male and female pair of spongicolid shrimps live inside the body of the sponge throughout their lives. Their tiny offsprings come out and find another basket for themselves. Shrimp gets its food from the basket and in turn, cleans the basket from inside
- They reproduce sexually as well as asexually
- The glassy fibrous attachment of Euplectella to the ocean bed is being researched for fibre optics to make more sturdy optical fibres. These can also be used to make low cost and more efficient solar cells