Flagellia, a new subgenus of Haliclona (Porifera, Haplosclerida)

Rob W.M. Van Soest


Haplosclerid sponges possessing a unique asymmetric flagelliform type of sigmoid microsclere have been reported from all global oceans. This peculiar spicule, characterized by a circular or elliptical shape, with a longer and sharper curved ending at one side and a shorter and more gradually curved ending at the opposing side, is proposed to be termed ‘flagellosigma’. These sponges invariably also possess smaller normal sigmas while their skeletal structure of oxea megascleres is markedly confused. They are assigned to the large genus Haliclona Grant, 1841 (family Chalinidae) in a new subgenus, Haliclona (Flagellia) subgen. nov. The species belonging to the new subgenus are reviewed and four species new to science are described, Haliclona (Flagellia) indonesiae subgen. et sp. nov., H. (F.) amirantensis subgen. et sp. nov., H. (F.) hiberniae subgen. et sp. nov. and H. (F.) hajdui subgen. et sp. nov. One species, H. (F.) hentscheli nom. nov., is given a new name on account of secondary homonymy caused by its transfer to the genus Haliclona. One species remains unnamed because of paucity of material. Already known species, reassigned to the new subgenus are H. (F.) hamata subgen. et comb. nov., H. (F.) flagellifera subgen. et comb. nov., H. (F.) porosa subgen. et comb. nov., H. (F.) edaphus subgen. et comb. nov. and H. (F.) anataria subgen. et comb. nov. Additional species are likely hiding among many erroneous records of ‘Gellius flagellifer’ from wide ranging parts of the global oceans.


Chalinidae; flagellosigma; new species; global oceans

Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5852/ejt.2017.351


Alcolado P.M. 2002. Catálogo de las esponjas de Cuba. Avicennia 15: 53–72.

Babič K. 1922. Monactinellida und Tetractinellida des Adriatischen Meeres. Zoologische Jahrbücher Abteilung für Systematik, Geographie und Biologie der Tiere 46 (2): 217–302.

Bakus G.D. & Green K.D. 1994. The Porifera. In: Blake J.A. & Lissner A.L. (eds) Taxonomic Atlas of the Benthic Fauna of the Santa Maria Basin and Western Santa Barbara Channel, Volume 2. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara.

Bergquist P.R. & Warne K.P. 1980. The marine fauna of New Zealand: Porifera, Demospongiae, part 3 (Haplosclerida and Nepheliospongida). New Zealand Oceanographic Institute Memoir 87: 1–77.

Boury-Esnault N. & Van Beveren M. 1982. Les Démosponges du plateau continental de Kerguelen-Heard. Comité national français des recherches antarctiques 52: 1–175.

Brøndsted H.V. 1933. The Godthaab Expedition 1928. Porifera. Meddelelser om Grønland 79 (5): 1–25.

Burton M. 1928. Report on some deep-sea sponges from the Indian Museum collected by R.I.M.S. ‘Investigator’. Part II. Tetraxonida (concluded) and Euceratosa. Records of the Indian Museum 30 (1): 109–138.

Burton M. 1930. Norwegian sponges from the Norman collection. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1930 (2): 487–546. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-3642.1930.tb00989.x

Burton M. 1938. Non-Calcareous sponges. Scientific Reports of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911–1914 (C. Zoology and Botany) 9 (3): 5–22.

Burton M. 1940. Las esponjas marinas del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales. (Invertebrados Marinas, Publication 6)Annales del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales 40 (Invertebrados Marinas, Publication 6): 95–121.

Burton M. 1959a. Spongia. In: Fridriksson A. & Tuxen S.L. (eds) The Zoology of Iceland 2 (3–4): 1–71. Ejnar Munksgaard, Copenhagen and Reykjavik.

Burton M. 1959b. Sponges. The John Murray Expedition 1933–34 Scientific Reports 10 (5): 151–281. Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). Available from http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/49512735 [accessed 5 Sep. 2017].

Carter H.J. 1887. Report on the marine sponges, chiefly from King Island, in the Mergui Archipelago, collected for the Trustees of the Indian Museum, Calcutta, by Dr. John Anderson, F.R.S., Superintendent of the Museum. Journal of the Linnean Society, Zoology 21 (127–128): 61–84. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-3642.1887.tb00381.x

Czerniavsky V. 1880 [1879]. Spongiae littorales Pontis Euxini et maris Caspii. Continuatio. Bulletin de la Société impériale des naturalistes de Moscou 54 (3): 88–128, 228–320. [In Russian.]

De Laubenfels M.W. 1930. The sponges of California. Abstracts of dissertations for the degree of doctor of philosophy. Stanford University Bulletin 5 (98): 24–29.

De Laubenfels M.W. 1932. The marine and fresh-water sponges of California. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 81 (2927): 1–140.

De Laubenfels M.W. 1949. The sponges of Woods Hole and adjacent waters. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard College 103 (1): 1–55. Available from http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/21254#page/5/mode/1up [accessed 25 Jul. 2017].

Dendy A. 1922. Report on the Sigmatotetraxonida collected by H.M.S. ‘Sealark’ in the Indian Ocean. Reports of the Percy Sladen Trust Expedition to the Indian Ocean in 1905, Volume 7. Transactions of the Linnean Society of London (2) 18 (1): 1–164. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-3642.1922.tb00547.x

Dendy A. 1924. Porifera. Part I. Non-Antarctic sponges. British Antarctic (‟Terra Nova”) Expedition, 1910. Natural History Reports (Zoology) 6 (3): 269–392. Available from http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/195204#page/7/mode/1up [accessed 25 Jul. 2017].

De Weerdt W.H. 1986. A systematic revision of the north-eastern Atlantic shallow-water Haplosclerida (Porifera, Demospongiae): 2. Chalinidae. Beaufortia 36 (6): 81–165. Available from http://www.repository.naturalis.nl/record/505186 [accessed 25 Jul. 2017].

De Weerdt W.H. 2000. A monograph of the shallow-water Chalinidae (Porifera, Haplosclerida) of the Caribbean. Beaufortia 50 (1): 1–67. Available from http://www.repository.naturalis.nl/record/505081 [accessed 25 Jul. 2017].

De Weerdt W.H. 2002. Family Chalinidae Gray, 1867. In: Hooper J.N.A. & Van Soest R.W.M. (eds) Systema Porifera. A Guide to the Classification of Sponges 1: 852–873. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, Boston, Dordrecht, London, Moscow.

Dickinson M.G. 1945. Sponges of the Gulf of California. In: Allan Hancock Pacific Expediitions. First Series 11 (1): 1-55. Allan Hancock Foundation Publications of the University of Southern California, California. Available from http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/5215603 [accessed 5 Sep. 2017].

Ferrer Hernández F. 1918. Esponjas del litoral de Asturias. Trabajos del Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales Serie Zoologia 36: 1–39.

Ferrer Hernández F. 1923. Más datas para el conocimiento de las esponjas de las costas espanolas. Boletim de Pescas 7: 247–272.

Fristedt K. 1887. Sponges from the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans and the Behring Sea. Vega-Expeditionens Vetenskap. Iakttagelser (Nordenskiöld) 4: 401–471.

Ginn B.K. 1997. Ecology, Systematics and Feeding Rate of Sponges on Subtidal Hard Substrates in Little Passage, Deer Island, New Brunswick. PhD Thesis, University of New Brunswick, Canada.

Ginn B.K., Logan A., Thomas M.L.H. & Van Soest R.W.M. 1998. Hymedesmia canadensis (Porifera: Poecilosclerida), a new species among new geographical records from the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 78: 1093–1100. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0025315400044349

Göcke C. & Janussen D. 2013. Demospongiae of ANT XXIV/2 (SYSTCO I) Expedition, Antarctic Eastern Weddell Sea. Zootaxa. 3692 (1): 28–101. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3692.1.5

Gosner K.L. 1971. Guide to Identification of Marine and Estuarine Invertebrates, Cape Hatteras to the Bay of Fundy. Wiley-Interscience, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York.

Gulliksen B., Palerud R., Brattegard T. & Sneli J. (eds) 1999. Distribution of Marine Benthic Macro-Organisms at Svalbard (Including Bear Island) and Jan Mayen. Research Report for DN 1999-4. Directorate for Nature Management. Available from http://www.miljodirektoratet.no/old/dirnat/attachment/1957/Utredning%201999-4%20Distribution%20of%20marine.pdf [accessed 25 Jul. 2017].

Hentschel E. 1912. Kiesel- und Hornschwämme der Aru- und Kei-Inseln. Abhandlungen herausgegeben von der Senckenbergischen naturforschenden Gesellschaft 34 (3): 293–448.

Hentschel E. 1916. Die Spongien des Eisfjords. In: Zoologische Ergebnisse der Schwedischen Expedition nach Spitzbergen, 1908. Teil II. Kungliga Svenska vetenskapsakademiens Handlingar 54 (3): 1–18.

Hentschel E. 1929. Die Kiesel- und Hornschwämme des Nördlichen Eismeers. In: Römer F., Schaudinn F., Brauer A. & Arndt W. (eds) Fauna Arctica. Eine Zusammenstellung der arktischen Tierformen mit besonderer Berücksichtigung des Spitzbergen-Gebietes auf Grund der Ergebnisse der Deutschen Expedition in das Nördliche Eismeer im Jahre 1898 5 (4): 857–1042. G. Fischer, Jena.

Hoshino T. 1981. Shallow-water Demosponges of Western Japan, 1. Journal of Science of the Hiroshima University (Series B) 29 (1): 47–205.

Hoshino T. 1987. A preliminary catalogue of the marine species of the class Demospongia (PORIFERA) from Japanese waters. Mukaishima Marine Biological Station, Hiroshima University, Contribution 279: 1–48.

Kaminskaya L.D. 1971. Sponges of the upper sublittoral of the north-western part of the Cuban platform. Issledovania Centralno Amarikanskij Morei 3: 112–121. [In Russian with English summary.]

Kelly M., Edwards A.R., Wilkinson M.R., Alvarez B., Cook S. de C., Bergquist P.R., Buckeridge J.S., Campbell H.J., Reiswig H.M., Valentine C. & Vacelet J. 2009. Phylum Porifera: Sponges. In: Gordon D.P. (ed.) New Zealand Inventory of Biodiversity: 1. Kingdom Animalia: Radiata, Lophotrochozoa, Deuterostomia: 23–46. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch.

Koltun V.M. 1959. [Siliceous Horny Sponges of the Northern and Far Eastern Seas of the U.S.S.R.] Opredeliteli po faune SSR, izdavaemye Zoologicheskim muzeem Akademii nauk 67: 1–236. [In Russian, English translation 1971 by the Fisheries Research Board of Canada Translation Series 1842: 1–442.]

Koltun V.M. 1962. Four rayed and siliceous horny sponges from the Pacific shallow waters of Paramushir and Shumshu Islands. Issledovaniya dal’nevostochnykh morei SSSR 8: 181–199. [In Russian.]

Koltun V.M. 1964. Sponges of the Antarctic. 1. Tetraxonida and Cornacuspongida. In: Pavlovskii E.P., Andriyashev A.P. & Ushakov P.V. (eds) Biological Reports of the Soviet Antarctic Expedition (1955–1958): 6–133, 443–448. Akademya Nauk SSSR. [English translation 1966 by the Israel Program for Scientific Translation: 1–131.]

Lambe L.M. 1896. Sponges from the Atlantic coast of Canada. Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, Section 2 (2) 2: 181–211.

Lee W.L., Elvin D.W. & Reiswig H.M. 2007. The Sponges of California. A Guide and Key to the Marine Sponges of California. Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation, Monterey.

Lehnert H. & Stone R.P. 2016. A comprehensive inventory of the Gulf of Alaska sponge fauna with the description of two new species and geographic range extensions. Zootaxa 4144 (3): 365–382.


Lemke P. (ed.) 2003. The Expedition ARKTIS XVIII/1a,b of the research vessel ‘Polarstern’ in 2002. Berichte Polarforschung Meeresforschung 446: 1–118.

Lévi C. 1969. Spongiaires du Vema Seamount (Atlantique Sud). Bulletin du Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle 41 (4): 952–973.

Lévi C. 1993. Porifera Demospongiae: Spongiaires bathyaux de Nouvelle-Calédonie, récoltés par le ‘Jean Charcot’. Campagne BIOCAL, 1985. In: Crosnier A. (ed.) Résultats des campagnes MUSORSTOM, Volume 11: 9–87. Mémoires du Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (A, Zoologie) 158, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris.

Lévi C. & Lévi P. 1983. Démosponges bathyales récoltées par le N/O ‘Vauban’ au sud de la Nouvelle-Calédonie. Bulletin du Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (4, A) 5 (4): 931–997.

Longo C., Mastrototaro F. & Corriero G. 2005. Sponge fauna associated with a Mediterranean deep-sea coral bank. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 85: 1341–1352. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0025315405012518

Lundbeck W. 1902. Porifera. (Part I.) Homorrhaphidae and Heterorrhaphidae. In: The Danish Ingolf-Expedition 6 (1): 1–108. Bianco Luno, Copenhagen. Available from

http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/2206232 [accessed 6 Sep. 2017].

Lundbeck W. 1909. The Porifera of East Greenland. Meddelelser om Grønland 29: 423–464.

Pansini M. 1987. Report on a collection of Demospongiae from soft bottoms of the Eastern Adriatic Sea. In: Jones W.C. (ed.) European Contributions to the Taxonomy of Sponges: 41-53. Sherkin Island Marine Station, Sherkin Island, Cork.

Pansini M. & Sara M. 1999. Taxonomical and biogeographical notes on the sponges of the Straits of Magellan. Scientia Marina 63 (Supl.1): 203–208. https://doi.org/10.3989/scimar.1999.63s1203

Pattanayak J.G. 1999. Annotated checklist of marine sponges of the Indian region. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 44: 439–455.

Pattanayak J.G. 2006. Marine sponges of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, India. Records of the Zoological Survey of India. Occasional Paper 255: 1–152.

Pulitzer-Finali G. 1978. Report on a collection of sponges from the Bay of Naples. III. Hadromerida, Axinellida, Poecilosclerida, Halichondrida, Haplosclerida. Bollettino dei Musei e degli Istituti Biologici della (R.) Università di Genova 45: 7–89.

Pulitzer-Finali G. 1983. A collection of Mediterranean Demospongiae (Porifera) with, in appendix, a list of the Demospongiae hitherto recorded from the Mediterranean Sea. Annali del Museo civico di storia naturale Giacomo Doria 84: 445–621.

Pulitzer-Finali G. 1993. A collection of marine sponges from East Africa. Annales Museo Civico Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria 89: 247–350.

Rezvoi P. 1924. Contribution towards the sponge fauna of the Kara and Barents Seas. Bulletin de l’Institut Lesshaft 8: 241–250. [in Russian with English summary]

Rezvoi P. 1928. Contribution to the fauna of Porifera in the Barents Sea. Transactions of the Institute for the scientific exploration of the North 37: 67–95. [In Russian with English summary.]

Ridley S.O. & Dendy A. 1886. Preliminary report on the Monaxonida collected by H.M.S. ‘Challenger’. Annals and Magazine of Natural History (5) 18: 325–351, 470–493. https://doi.org/10.1080/00222938609459982

Ridley S.O. & Dendy A. 1887. Report on the Monaxonida collected by H.M.S. ‘Challenger’ during the years 1873–1876. Report on the Scientific Results of the Voyage of H.M.S. ‘Challenger’, 1873–1876, Zoology 20 (59): 1–275.

Samaai T. & Gibbons M.J. 2005. Demospongiae taxonomy and biodiversity of the Benguela region on the west coast of South Africa. African Natural History 1: 1–96.

Schmidt O. 1870. Grundzüge einer Spongien-Fauna des atlantischen Gebietes. Wilhelm Engelmann, Leipzig.

Sim C.J. & Kim M.H. 1988. A systematic study on the marine sponges in Korea. 7. Demospongiae and Hexactinellida. Korean Journal of Systematic Zoology 4 (1): 21–42.

Sitjà C. & Maldonado M. 2014. New and rare sponges from the deep shelf of the Alboran Island (Alboran Sea, Western Mediterranean). Zootaxa 3760: 141–179. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3760.2.2

Spalding M.D, Fox H.E., Allen G.E., Davidson N., Ferdaña Z.A., Finlayson M., Halperin B.S., Jorge M.A., Lombana A., Lourie S.A., Martin K.D., McManus E., Molnar J., Recchia C.A. & Robertson J. 2007. Marine ecoregions of the world: a bioregionalization of coastal and shelf areas. BioScience 57 (7): 573–583. https://doi.org/10.1641/B570707

Stephens J. 1916. XX — Preliminary notice of some Irish Sponges.—The Monaxonellida (Suborder Sigmatomonaxonellida) obtained by the Fisheries Branch of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, Ireland. Annals and Magazine of Natural History (8) 17 (99): 232–242. https://doi.org/10.1080/00222931508693773

Stephens J. 1917. Report on the sponges collected off the coasts of Ireland by the dredging expeditions of the Royal Irish Academy and the Royal Dublin Society. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 34 (B): 1–16.

Stephens J. 1921. Sponges of the Coasts of Ireland. II. The Tetraxonida (concluded). Scientific Investigations of the Fisheries Branch. Department of Agriculture for Ireland 1920 (2): 1–75.

Thiele J. 1903. Kieselschwämme von Ternate. II. Abhandlungen herausgegeben von der Senckenbergischen naturforschenden Gesellschaft 25: 933–968.

Topsent É. 1896. Éponges. In: Koehler R. (ed.) Scientific results of the Caudan campaign in the Gulf of Biscay, August–September 1895. Annales de l’Université de Lyon 26: 276–295.

Topsent É. 1904. Spongiaires des Açores. Résultats des campagnes scientifiques accomplies par le Prince Albert I. Monaco 25: 1–280. Available from http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/2147461 [accessed 7 Sep. 2017].

Topsent É. 1928. Spongiaires de l’Atlantique et de la Méditerranée provenant des croisières du Prince Albert ler de Monaco. Résultats des campagnes scientifiques accomplies par le Prince Albert I. Monaco 74: 1–376.

Uriz M.J. 1987. Sponges from the South-West of Africa: description of species. In: Jones W.C. (ed.) European Contributions to the Taxonomy of Sponges: 54–73. Sherkin Island Marine Station, Sherkin Island, County Cork.

Uriz M.J. 1988. Deep-water sponges from the continental shelf and slope off Namibia (Southwest Africa): Classses Hexactinellida and Demospongia. Monografías de Zoología Marina 3: 9–157.

Vacelet J. 1969. Éponges de la roche du large et de l’étage bathyal de Méditerranée (Récoltes de la soucoupe plongeante Cousteau et dragages). Mémoires du Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (A, Zoologie) 59 (2): 145–219, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris.

Vacelet J., Vasseur P. & Lévi C. 1976. Spongiaires de la pente externe des récifs coralliens de Tuléar (Sud-Ouest de Madagascar). Mémoires du Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (A, Zoologie) 49, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris.

Van Soest R.W.M. 1980. Marine sponges from Curaçao and other Caribbean localities. Part II. Haplosclerida. In: Hummelinck P.W. & Van der Steen L.J. (eds) Uitgaven van de Natuurwetenschappelijke Studiekring voor Suriname en de Nederlandse Antillen. No. 104. Studies on the Fauna of Curaçao and other Caribbean Islands 62 (191): 1–173. Available from http://www.repository.naturalis.nl/record/506243 [accessed 25 Jul. 2017].

Van Soest R.W.M. 1984. Marine sponges from Curaçao and other Caribbean localities. Part III. Poecilosclerida. In: Hummelinck P.W. & Van der Steen L.J. (eds) Uitgaven van de Natuurwetenschappelijke Studiekring voor Suriname en de Nederlandse Antillen. No. 112. Studies on the Fauna of Curaçao and other Caribbean Islands 66 (199): 1–167. Available from http://www.repository.naturalis.nl/record/506067 [accessed 25 Jul. 2017].

Van Soest R.W.M. 2017. Sponges of the Guyana Shelf. Zootaxa 4217 (1): 1–225. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4217.1.1

Van Soest R.W.M., Cleary D.F.R., De Kluijver M.J., Lavaleye M.S.S., Maier C. & Van Duyl F.C. 2007. Sponge diversity and community composition in Irish bathyal coral reefs. Contributions to Zoology 76 (2): 121–142. Available from http://www.repository.naturalis.nl/record/226534 [accessed 25 Jul. 2017].

Van Soest R.W.M., Beglinger E.J. & De Voogd N.J. 2014. Mycale species (Porifera: Poecilosclerida) of Northwest Africa and the Macaronesian Islands. Zoölogische Mededelingen Leiden 88 (4): 59–109. Available from http://www.repository.naturalis.nl/record/516158 [accessed 25 Jul. 2017].

Van Soest R.W.M., Boury-Esnault N., Hooper J.N.A., Rützler K., De Voogd N.J., Alvarez de Glasby B., Hajdu E., Pisera A.B., Manconi R., Schoenberg C., Klautau M., Picton B., Kelly M., Vacelet J., Dohrmann M., Díaz M.C., Cárdenas P. & Carballo J.L. 2016. World Porifera Database. Available from http://www.marinespecies.org/porifera/ [accessed 21 Sep. 2016].

Van Soest R.W.M., Stone S.M., Boury-Esnault B. & Rützler K. 1983. Catalogue of the Duchassaing & Michelotti (1864) collection of West Indian sponges (Porifera). Bulletin Zoölogisch Museum Universiteit van Amsterdam 9 (21): 189–206. Available from http://www.repository.naturalis.nl/record/505563 [accessed 25 Jul. 2017].

Vosmaer G.C.J. 1880. The Sponges of the Leyden Museum. 1. The family of the Desmacidinae. Notes from the Leyden Museum 2: 99–164. Available from http://www.repository.naturalis.nl/record/508716 [accessed 25 Jul. 2017].

Vosmaer G.C.J. 1885. The Sponges of the ‘Willem Barents’ Expedition 1880 and 1881. Bijdragen tot de Dierkunde 12 (3): 1–47. Available from http://www.repository.naturalis.nl/record/504555 [accessed 25 Jul. 2017].


  • There are currently no refbacks.

License URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/