Observations on littoral sponges, including the supposed swarming of larvae, movement and coalescence in mature individuals, longevity and death



  • 1The pattern in early growths of encrusting sponges suggests a grouping consistent with the swarming and simultaneous settlement of the larvae.
  • 2Post-larval sponges tend to move about and, as they come into contact with each other, coalesce.
  • 3This movement, accompanied or not by coalescence, appears to be continued throughout the early part of life and may persist throughout.
  • 4In the later stages special growth forms include the production of blunt processes, slender branches or plasmodia, which may lead either to coalescence or to the formation of new individuals.
  • 5Several new individuals may be formed from a pre-existing individual by disintegration due to desiccation, predators or wave action.
  • 6A new definition of the word “individual” is proposed, with special reference to sponges.
  • 7Notes are included on longevity, senescence and death.