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Branching vase sponge
Callyspongia vaginalis
(Lamarck, 1814)

Description:
The basic shape of this species is a cluster of long erect tubes, tapering only slightly. The tubes have a wide, thin-walled vent, and its outer walls are strongly conulose. The tubes show a considerable tendency to anastomose and this may lead eventually to hollow, fan shaped specimens. Tubes up to 25 cm high and 5 cm in diameter. Fan shaped forms up to 18 cm high, 21 cm in the widest expansion and up to 3 cm in thickness. Vents up to 2.5 cm in diameter. Conules about 3 mm high and 5 mm apart. Surface of outer walls smooth between the conules. The consistency is very spongy.

Color:
Very variable: from lavender to brownish-gray to greenish-gray and occasionally light tan.

Habitat:
Inhabit shallow and mid-range reefs, walls and rocky areas. The species is frequently infested with Sponge zoanthids (Parazoanthus parasiticus ) and Sponge brittle stars (Ophiothrix suensonii ) C. vaginalis-close-up.

Distribution:
Common from South Florida, the Bahamas to the Caribbean.

Branching vase sponge (Callyspongia vaginalis)