Nom du corpus

Corpus Systématique Animale

Titre du document

Does the skeleton of a sponge provide a defense against predatory reef fish?

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Springer (journals)
Langue(s) du document
Type de document
Mots-clés d'auteur
  • Physical defenses
  • Coral reef sponges
  • Silica
  • Nutritional quality
  • Predator-prey interactions
Nom du fichier dans la ressource
Eponges_v2b_0245, Poissons_v2b_003473
  • Brian Chanas 1
  • Joseph R. Pawlik 1
  • 1) Biological Sciences and Center for Marine Science Research, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, 28403-3297, Wilmington, NC, USA

Sponge tissue often contains two structural components in high concentrations: spicules of silica, and refractory fibers of protein (spongin). Some terrestrial plants contain analogous structures, siliceous inclusions and refractory lignins, that have been demonstrated to deter herbivory. We performed feeding experiments with predatory reef fish to assess the deterrent properties of the structural components of three common Caribbean demosponges, Agelas clathrodes, Ectyoplasia ferox, and Xestospongia muta. The concentrations of spicules and spongin in the tissues varied widely between the three species, but when assayed at their natural volumetric concentrations, neither spicules (all three species assayed) nor the intact spiculated spongin skeleton (A. clathrodes and X. muta assayed) deterred feeding by reef fish in aquarium or field assays using prepared foods of a nutritional quality similar to, or higher than, that of sponge tissue. Spicules deterred feeding in aquarium assays when incorporated into prepared foods of a nutritional quality lower than that of sponge tissue (15–19 times less protein), but spiculated spongin skeleton was still palatable, even in prepared foods devoid of measurable protein, and even though spicules embedded in spongin were oriented in their natural conformation. Based on comparisons of the nutritional qualities of the tissues of the three sponge species and of the prepared foods, sponge tissue would have to be much lower in food value (5 times less protein or lower) for spicules to provide an effective defense, and spicules in combination with the spongin skeleton would be unlikely to provide an effective defense regardless of the nutritional quality of the tissue. Unlike terrestrial plants, marine sponges may use silica and refractory fibers solely for structural purposes.

Catégories Science-Metrix
  • 1 - natural sciences
  • 2 - biology
  • 3 - ecology
Catégories INIST
  • 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
  • 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
  • 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
  • 4 - invertebres
Catégories Scopus
  • 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Catégories WoS
  • 1 - science ; 2 - ecology
Identifiant ISTEX


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Score qualité du texte
  • Eponges
  • Poissons
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