Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps

Family SUBERITIDAE Schmidt, 1870

Compiler and date details

2010 - John N.A. Hooper, Queensland Museum, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; Felix Wiedenmayer (1994), Naturhistorisches Museum Basel, Basel, Switzerland; updated by John N.A. Hooper (1999)


Globular, ramose, stipitate, massive or encrusting habit. Megascleres usually tylostyles, occasionally styles, strongyloxeas or centrotylote oxeas; microscleres usually absent, when present confined to microrhabds and trichodragmas. In cross section, megascleres are usually arranged in bouquets at the surface, in more massive species becoming progressively confusedly arranged towards the interior, but overall structure may also be strictly radial or show a strong axial orientation. In one genus the spicules at the surface are arranged tangentially. There is no recognizable cortex. In thinly encrusting species spicule orientation is either parallel or perpendicular to the substratum. Modifications of shape and position of the tylostyle heads are common; they can be lobate, pearshaped, drop-shaped or subterminal.


ID Keys

(1) Sponge stipitate or arborescent, i.e. having a stem of some length separate from further body parts (ovate bodies, branches, lobes, leaf-like structures ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2
Sponge globular, massive or encrusting; if erect there is no distinct stem ------------------------------------------------ 5

(2) Sponge arborescent, with branches similar to the stem ----------------------------------------------------------------- 3
Sponge stipitate with ovate body, or provided with lobes or leaf-like structures ---------------------------------------- 4

(3) Spicules predominantly styles, extra-axial skeleton predominantly with single spicules arranged in brushes at the
surface ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Homaxinella
Spicules predominantly tylostyles; extra-axial skeleton with strong spicule bundles fanning out at the
surface to form brushes ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Plicatellopsis

(4) Sponges with simple stem and ovate body, which may be pearshaped or otherwise elongated; brushes of smaller spicules over radiate bundles of larger spicules ------------------------------------------------------ Rhizaxinella
Sponges with elaborate shape, either pagoda-like with leafshaped lobes, or flabellate or a system of reticulate
branches; tylostyles in a single size category, with peculiarly flattened tyles -------------------------- Caulospongia

(5) Sponge globular, massively lobate or digitate, or massively encrusting ---------------------------------------------- 6
Sponge thinly encrusting, usually not exceeding a cm in thickness -------------------------------------------------------- 9

(6) Spicules exclusively tylostyles ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7
Spicules include oxeas or strongyloxeas -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 8

(7) Surface skeleton is a tangential and usually detachable crust carried by subectosomal spicule brushes ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pseudosuberites
No tangential spicules, surface velvety due to palisade of small tylostyles ---------------------------------- Suberites

(8) Oxeas symmetrical relatively small and sharply pointed; skeletal arrangement more or less
confused --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pseudospongosorites
Strongyloxeas in a large size range, usually accompanied by small styles and/or tylostyles in a low quantity;
skeletal arrangement strictly radiate --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Aaptos

(9) Tylostyles single erect on the substrate -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 10
Tylostyles in bundles or confused -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 11

(10) Macroscopically hispid, no ectosomal specialization --------------------------------------------------- Prosuberites
Macroscopically smooth, at the surface tylostyles in brushes ------------------------------------------ Protosuberites

(11) Low spicular density, gelatinous consistency, tylostyles predominantly with peculiarly flattened, lobate tyles; size uniformly small ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Terpios
Tylostyles in a dense palisade at the surface and in thicker specimens arranged in parallel bundles; usually
a large size range; lobate tyles not common ------------------------------------------------------------- Protosuberites


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 15-Dec-2011 MOVED
29-Mar-2018 13-Apr-2011 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)