Demospongiae (soft sponges) are known as the most diverse class of Porifera. They consist of a soft body that covers a large rough skeleton on the inside. Their skeleton is made up of spiracles that consist of a fiber protein called spongin and also include a mineral called silica. They have many different shapes and they can also be very brightly colored. They range in size varies from a few millimeters to upwards of 2 meters.

Chondrilla nucula (Schmidt, 1862)

Common name: Chicken Liver Sponge
Description: It has a greenish brown color and can grow up to 15 cm on reefs, thick seagrass beds, or clumps around mangroves. They are also in caves which can affect their coloration from green to a pale yellow.
Distribution: Western Atlantic and Bermuda.
Ieranto: Small bay.
Fun fact: They have a toxin that deters fish predation and allows them to compete for space on a reef.

Common name: Leather Sponge
Description: Massive smooth sponge in shades of grey and brown-violet. Elongated shapes that are up to 5 cm high and 10 or more cm in lateral expansion. It has a leathery consistency. Generally found in shallow water.
Distribution: Portugal and Mediterranean.
Ieranto: Usually can be found into the holes, in shaddy places.
Fun fact: The name refers to its kidney shape.

Common name: Yellow Boring Sponge
Description: Recognizable from its distinct yellow color, and can either be identified as an excavating massive sponge, or a boring sponge. The boring form is very common in oyster and mussel beds and can cause damage to shellfish farming.
Distribution: Northwest Europe, mainly Britain and France.
Ieranto: Quite abundant and usually in darker places.
Fun fact: Out of water, the yellow becomes darker and in alcohol, it goes brown.

Fasciospongia cavernosa (Schmidt, 1862)
Common name: Cavernous sponge
Description: It doesn’t exceed 15 cm. It appears somewhat transparent and glossy, with a white color to it that can sometimes be seen as a grey or light blue. It has small holes throughout its body, and they’re very irregularly placed.
Distribution: Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean and Canary Islands.
Fun fact: It isn’t attached to a substrate, it can move around.

Common name: Grey Lather Sponge
Description: Medium to dark gray in color, 30-60 mm in diameter. They are a skeleton of fibers and filaments and appears cabbage shaped. Live in caves or rocky bottoms.
Distribution: Mediterranean Sea.
Fun fact: It is almost entirely a skeleton.

Common name: Variable Loggerhead Sponge
Description: Very thick, encrusting sponge. It can expand up to 70 cm and can be 20 cm thick, but that rarely happens. Its color varies from white to pink, green to black, maroon, white or violet.
Distribution: Atlantic Coasts off of Portugal and Spain and Mediterranean.
Ieranto: It can be found with different colors and shapes.
Fun fact: The name refers to its variability in shape.

Hemimycale collumella (Bowerbank, 1874)

Common name: Crater sponge
Description: A thick sponge that’s about 1 cm thick and can reach 30 cm wide. It is soft and is covered in cavities, each one is around 0.1 cm in diameter. It is a soft pink to white color, sometimes being red or orange as well, and had an appearance of a honeycomb.
Distribution: British coasts and Mediterranean.
Fun fact: It is attached to hard surfaces such as boulders and stones, but is not found on harbors.

Common name: Stony Sponge
Description: It can usually appear to be violet to brown, but it can be white when it is in a dark environment. It can reach a height of 20 cm and can occupy more than one square meter.
Distribution: Mediterranean Sea and North Atlantic.
Fun fact: It’s also called the “Stony Sponge” because its consistency is very hard.

Phorbas fictitius (Bowerbank, 1866)

Common name: Bloody Crater Sponge
Description: Its color is usually bright red, but can be pink or grey. This species is firm, and covered in small depressions that are 1 mm in diameter. Its entire length is 30 cm long and becomes 14 mm thick. It lives on rocky ground at depths of 60 m in areas with moving water.
Distribution: British Isles, North Sea and Mediterranean Sea.
Ieranto: Small bay near the platform in a small hole.
Fun fact: In 24 hours, it can filter 2000 times the water of its own volume. It also lives inside the Emerald Sea-Slug that feeds on it.

Phorbas tenacior (Topsent, 1925)
Common name: Blueish encrusting sponge
Description: It is blue-grey in color, can be 1-3 mm thick and 15-20 cm wide. It is very thin, fragile and soft. There’s a series of channels that are visible on the surface that go throughout the body.
Distribution: Mediterranean Sea.
Ieranto: Small bay, into the canyon.
Fun fact:
It prefers poorly lit environments.

Sarcotragus spinosulus (Schmidt, 1862)

Common name: Black Leather Sponge
Description: Generally black or grey-brown. Usually massive and very thick, around 6 cm. Resistant to cutting and tearing, and rough to the touch. Common in rocky and hard bottoms
Distribution: Atlantic coasts of Spain, Portugal and Mediterranean Sea.
Fun fact: Requires a very stable temperature.

Spirastrella cunctatrix (Schmidt, 1868)
Common name: Orange Ray Sponge
Description: They are identifiable by their bright orange color. They cover large areas on rocks in dimly lit environments at depths up to 30 meters, but more commonly between 12-20 meters.
Distribution: Mediterranean Sea, Indo-Pacific and Central Atlantic.
Fun fact: It is found at greater depths than in the coral reefs.

Tethya aurantium (Pallas, 1766)
Common name: Orange golf ball sponge
Description: It has a spherical shape that can be up to 10 cm in diameter. It looks very similar to an orange and is covered in “warts”. There are striations on the surface and short stalks on top of the “warts”.
Distribution: Mediterranean sea, British Isles and Norway.
Fun fact: It is often found in kelp forests at depths of up to 130 m.
Conservation status: Protected by International Convention

Terpios fugax (Duchassaing and Michelotti, 1864)
Common name:
Description: This species is easily identifiable by its vivid blue color. It forms small, thin patches on rocks and other hard substrates. It is soft and is found at depths up to 20 m.
Distribution: West Pacific, West Atlantic and Mediterranean.
Ieranto: Small bay, into the canyon.
Fun fact: It starts off as a free floating larvae then attaches to the substrate permanently.