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Skeletal growth of the deep-sea hexactinellid sponge Euplectella oweni, and host selection by the symbiotic shrimp Spongicola japonica (Crustacea: Decapoda: Spongicolidae)

Authors


*All correspondence to: T. Saito. E-mail: t-saito@nagoyaaqua.or.jp

Abstract

Aspects of the skeletal growth of the deep-sea hexactinellid sponge Euplectella oweni Herklots and Marshall, and host size and type selection by the symbiotic shrimp Spongicola japonica Kubo were investigated using field-collected material. Two phases, flexible and stiff, were observed in the framework of the sponges. In the flexible sponges, the circular, longitudinal and oblique systems of the skeletal beams that constitute the principal framework were not fused to each other, and the parietal ledges running circularly, or sometimes obliquely, on the wall were not developed. The skeletal wall was fragile in texture, readily torn by any external force. The wall was much sturdier in the stiff sponges, in which the systems of the skeletal beams were coarse, fused to each other to make the principal framework tough in texture, and pareital ledges developed so as to reinforce the sponge wall. The flexible phase is mainly seen in smaller and younger sponges, while the stiff phase was seen in the larger (or dead) ones. Almost all the solitary and young pairs of shrimps were collected from flexible sponges.

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