Here’s a love Story like no other:
A glass sponge -Hexactinellida
The ultimate love shack for Crabs and Shrimps, these little creatures call this their home, but it is a home with a risk. It is known that they can become trapped and end up stuck inside the sponge.
In Japan, specimens of a glass sponge with a pair of shrimps in them have traditionally been presented as a wedding gift to symbolize the vow of “till death do we part”.
Sponges hail from a very, very old evolutionary line and this week’s invertebrate comes from the oldest of the old: Hexactinellida.
According to the Natural History Museum in London, this group of sponges represents the oldest multicellular organisms in the fossil record and they enjoyed “their maximum diversity during the Cretaceous (99.6 – 65.5 million years ago) when these sponges formed the vast reefs of the Tethys Sea.“
Their tissues contain glass-like structural particles, called spicules, that are made of silica.
They are found worldwide,distribution at depths between 10 and 6000 meters.
They are most encountered in cold waters (2-11o C) on deep-sea (>200 meters) substrates where they survive by filter feeding.
Can you spot the two tiny crabs in this Glass Sponge?