Azure vase sponge
|Azure vase sponge|
The Azure vase sponge is a species of sponge known by the scientific name Callyspongia plicifera . It is known as the world's most colorful sponge. It can come in blue, purple, or pink and is also shaped like a vase. Its skeletal structure is a complicated system of sponge fibers. The outside is very bumpy but the inside is very smooth. The sponge reproduces both sexually and asexually. Sexually mixes an egg with a sperm which then flies away and becomes a new sponge where it lands. Asexually is where a piece of sponge breaks off and grows into a new sponge. Its lifespan can range from a few months to 20 years. The maximum size is 18 inches tall. It also lives no more then 18 meters below sea level. It is used by people for decoration and is being studied to be used for medicine. Animals can use it for protection.
One of the world's most colorful sponges - its colors can range from purple, pink, or fluorescent blue. The azure vase sponge is usually shaped like a vase thus receiving its name. The azure vase sponge also has bumps and ridges all over its outside but the inside is very smooth. Its maximum size is about 18 inches. 
Their skeletal architecture consists of sponge fibers about 2-3 diameters with thin or straight blunt rods at the end. The smaller fibers lack internal spicules. Its exterior skeleton has a polynomal meshwork of primary fibers which are about 60-100 micrometers long. The meshes on that are about 700-1000 micrometers long. The secondary fibers are about 10-60 micrometers long. Their meshes are about 100-500 micrometers long. All of the fibers contain sparse spicules. The interior skeleton has fiber clusters which are also known as fibrofascicles. The fibrofascicles grow up to 550 micrometers in diameter. Fiber meshworks between them consist of primary, secondary, and tertiary interlacing fibers.
An Azure vase sponges life cycle has two different kinds of reproduction. Sexual reproduction and asexual reproduction. Asexual reproduction is when a tiny piece of an adult sponge breaks off and it becomes a new sponge. This is caused by a cell called an archaeocyte. The archaeocyte is protected until the conditions for a new sponge to develop are right. The archeocyte hatches and becomes a new sponge. 
Sexual reproduction starts when an egg is formed in a parents body. It is fed by fluids that flow through the parents canal system. Nurse cells make sure the egg has all the nutrients it needs before joining with the sperm. The sperm and the egg are made in the same parents body. They are released into the water by a nearby male sponge. The sperm then enters the female and the sperm and egg combine forming a larva. The larva has flagella that it uses to leave the parents body. It then attaches to the bottom of the ocean and grows into an adult. 
An Azure vase sponge's lifespan is from a few months to 20 years depending on the environment its in. It never moves because it is sessile and so it has to catch food in place. It feeds on floating living particles and plankton. The food is then collected and stored in cells called choanocytes until they can be used. 
Azure vase sponges live in areas like the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and Florida. They can live up to a maximum of 18 meters below sea level. On the food chain they are very low. So to keep away predators they use certain chemicals in their bodies. Even with these chemicals however, they are still vulnerable to turtles, fish, and some invertebrates.
How it is used today
An Azure vase sponge has several ways of being used by man and animal alike. It has a constant flow of water and natural defences so small fish can hide in it. If it is large enough several different creatures can be living in it like small crabs, shrimp, and starfish. Some animals eat on substances that are produced by the sponge's surface. Also some animals can use them for camouflage. These are some ways sponge can be used by animals.
Sponges can also be used by people. The everyday household sponges we have are not actual sea sponges. In the past real sponges have been used for padding, bathing, and painting. Today natural sponges are still used as a bathroom decoration. These kinds are only the ones that are not sharp or poisonous. Most of these sponges were found in the Mediterranean sea. Sponges from other areas can cause bad skin irritation if touched. so those shouldn't be used to bathe. These days sponges are being used for medical purposes. The toxins they produce are being studied for ways it can help heal people.
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