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Family CLATHRINIDAE Minchin, 1900

Compiler and date details

January 2017 - Kathryn A. Hall, Queensland Museum, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

John N.A. Hooper, Queensland Museum, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; Felix Wiedenmayer (1994), Naturhistorisches Museum Basel, Basel, Switzerland; updated by John N.A. Hooper (1999)

  • Clathrinidae Minchin, 1900.
    Type genus:
     Clathrina Gray, 1867.
  • Soleniscida Haeckel, 1870 [nomen oblitum].



Clathrinidae Minchin, 1900 are asconoid sponges. Their growth form is typically reticulate, with a system of oscular tubes which are generally short and anastomosing, and each system terminating in an osculum. Trends in growth forms in the family range from those with wide central oscular tubes into which narrow asconoid tubes empty, to species with an outer covering, termed a pseudoderm, formed of outgrowths of the peripheral asconoid tubes of the sponge. In the latter, a false spongocoel, opening by way of a pseudosculum, may develop through enlargement of the canal system toward the centre of the sponge. Triradiate spicules (Hooper & Wiedenmayer 1994: fig. 147) are always present, equiangular, and with the crystalline optic axis vertical to the facial plane of the rays. The presence of these spicules helps to distinguish the group from asconoid members of the subclass Calcaronea. Monaxon spicules (Hooper & Wiedenmayer 1994: figs 164–174) are present or absent. Collar-cells have the flagellum arising quite independent of the nucleus, which is spherical in form and situated at the base of the cell. Choanocytes are not confined to isolated chambers, but line the central cavity (spongocoele) of the tubes that make up the complicated sponge form. Larvae are coeloblastulae (Hartman 1982).

Borojevic et al. (1990) provide a diagnosis for the family (based on three genera, excluding Ascandra and Dendya—included by Hartman (1982)) which includes sponges with essentially tubular organisation, with a continuous choanoderm lining all the internal cavities; growth by longitudinal median divisions and anastomosis of tubes to form large units called the cormus; no common cortex; and no well defined inhalant and exhalant aquiferous system.

Two genera are included in the family, both with representatives recorded in the Australian fauna. Clathrinids are widely distributed and range from intertidal habitats to depths of at least 860 m (Hartman 1982).

Reviews of the family are available in Bidder (1898: Clathrina and Guancha included); Minchin (1900: Clathrina, Ascandra and Dendya included); Minchin (1909); Dendy & Row (1913); Hartman (1958: Clathrina, Ascute and Dendya included); Borojevic (1968: retained sensu Minchin, 1909, with Clathrina sensu novo, Dendya and Ascandra sensu novo); Hartman (1982); Borojevic & Peixinho (1976); and Borojevic et al. (1990: restricted to two genera only).




Clathrinida with an essentially tubular organisation. The skeleton is formed by tangential triactines, to which tripods, tetractines and diactines may be added. A continuous choanoderm lines all the internal cavities. The water crosses the wall through pores, delimited by porocytes. The young sponges have an olynthus form that grows through longitudinal median division, budding and anastomosis of individual tubes, forming large units called the 'cormus'. There is neither a common cortex nor a well-defined inhalant or exhalant aquiferous system.


ID Keys

See Order Clathrinida Diagnosis


General References

Bidder, G.P. 1898. The skeleton and classification of calcareous sponges. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 64: 61-76 10 figs

Borojevic, R. 1968. Eponges calcaires des côtes de France. IV. Le genre Ascaltis Haeckel emend. Archives de Zoologie Expérimentale et Générale 109: 193-210

Borojevic, R., Boury-Esnault, N. & Vacelet, J. 1990. A revision of the supraspecific classification of the subclass Calcinea (Porifera, Class Calcarea). Bulletin du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle. Paris [published 1895-1906] 4 12(A,2): 243-276

Borojevic, R. & Peixinho, S. 1976. Eponges calcaires du nord-nord-est de Brésil. Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris [published 1907-1971] Zool. 279: 987-1036

Dendy, A. & Row, R.W.H. 1913. The classification and phylogeny of the calcareous sponges, with a reference list of all the described species, systematically arranged. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1913: 704-813

Hartman, W.D. 1958. A re-examination of Bidder's classification of the Calcarea. Systematic Zoology 7: 97-110

Hartman, W.D. 1982. Porifera. pp. 640-666 in Parker, S.P. (ed.). Synopsis and Classification of Living Organisms. New York : McGraw-Hill Vol. 1.

Hooper, J.N.A. & Wiedenmayer, F. 1994. Porifera. pp. 1–620 in Wells, A. (ed.). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Melbourne : CSIRO Australia Vol. 12 xiii 624 pp. [Date published 21/Nov/1994]

Minchin, E.A. 1900. Porifera. pp. 1-178 in Lankester, E.R. (ed.). A Treatise on Zoology. The Porifera and Coelenterata. London : Adam and Charles Black Part 2.

Minchin, E.A. 1909. The relation of the flagellum to the nucleus in the collar-cells of calcareous sponges. Zoologischer Anzeiger 35: 227-231


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
29-Mar-2018 PORIFERA Grant, 1836 29-Jan-2017 MODIFIED Dr Kathryn Hall
20-Dec-2011 20-Dec-2011 MOVED
12-Feb-2010 (import)