Glass sponges within the class Hexactinellida are animals generally discovered within the deep ocean. Their tissues include glass-like structural particles, referred to as spicules, which are made from silica (therefore their title). Some species of glass sponges produce extraordinarily massive spicules that fuse collectively in lovely patterns to kind a “glass home”—a fancy skeleton that always stays intact even after the sponge itself dies. The skeleton of the glass sponge, along with numerous chemical substances, gives protection in opposition to many predators. Nonetheless, some starfish are recognized to feed on these uncommon creatures of the deep.
Most glass sponges stay connected to laborious surfaces and eat small micro organism and plankton that they filter from the encompassing water. Their intricate skeletons present many different animals with a house.
Probably the most well-known glass sponge is a species of Euplectella, referred to as the “Venus flower basket,” which builds its skeleton in a manner that entraps a sure species of crustacean inside for all times. This sponge typically homes two small, shrimp-like Stenopodidea, a male and a feminine, who stay out their lives contained in the sponge. The crustaceans breed, and when their offspring are tiny, they escape to discover a new Venus flower basket of their very own. The pair contained in the basket clear it and, in return, the basket gives meals for the crustaceans by way of its waste. The animals finally develop too massive to flee the sponge, so they’re pressured to “keep put” for the remainder of their lives.