Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 5:20 EDT

Bath Sponge, Spongia officinalis

The Bath Sponge (Spongia officinalis) is a species of sponge found throughout the Mediterranean Sea, and also in the Caribbean Sea and the West Indies. It is a commercially important specimen; However, increased harvesting has led to a decrease in population.

It is hermaphroditic and can reproduce asexually by means of budding or through sexual reproduction. It is dark gray in color in the sea, but when dried after removal from the sea, it turns yellow or brownish in color. Young larvae swim freely until they attach to the sea floor or other adequate surface. Once attached, these specimens grow slowly, taking as long as 40 years to grow just a few inches.

Image Caption: Bath Sponge, Spongia officinalis. Credit: Guido Picchetti/Wikipedia(CC BY-SA 3.0)

Bath Sponge Spongia officinalis