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Lavender rope sponge
Niphates erecta
Duchassaing & Michelotti, 1864

Description:
Ramose, with single, solid branches up to 30 cm long and 2 cm in diameter. Branches mostly undivided over most of their length, rarely grouped into anastomosing complexes. Apically the branches may develop digitations. The surface is smooth to extremely conulose-spinous; this often occurs patch-like in the same specimen. Oscules distributed irregularly, 2-7 mm in diameter, mostly flush with the surface, sometimes with a slightly raised rim. Consistency stiff, spongy and tough.

Color:
Light purple, pinkish purple, grayish brown or drab.

Habitat:
Inhabit reefs and frequently walls. The species is almost invariably heavily infested with Sponge zoanthids (Parazoanthus parasiticus ) and Sponge brittle stars (Ophiothrix suensonii ).

Distribution:
Scattered distribution, but can be locally common in South Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean.

Lavender rope sponge (Niphates erecta)