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(Montagu, 1818)

Species Overview

Chalinula limbata (Montagu, 1818) forms small brown spiny cushions, very compressible and spongy. Oscules are at the summit of small chimneys or flush. It is a common inhabitant of the brown algae communities in intertidal and subtidal habitats. It occurs over most of Western Europe.

Taxonomic Description

Colour: Brown.
Shape, size, surface and consistency: Cushion-shaped or lobate, with a few, rather large, flush oscules or oscular chimneys. Diameter of oscules 4-10 mm. Size of specimens up to 2 cm high and 5 cm in diameter, but often much smaller. Surface strongly hispid. Consistency resilient, compressible, very spongy.
Spicules: Small, thin oxeas of variable size, usually: 55-90 x 0.5-1.5 µm. Centrotylote modifications occur occasionally.
Skeleton: Ectosomal skeleton: absent. Choanosomal skeleton (chalinula_limbata_skdrw.jpg ): consists of an irregular reticulation of spongin fibres of varying thickness, cored by 1-5 oxeas. Usually the primary fibres are thicker and cored by more spicules than the secondary fibres. Spongin: variable, but generally abundant, forming the main part of the skeleton.
Reproduction: Larvae are pink and have bare posterior and anterior poles, size 150-500 µm (Meeuwis, 1939; Wapstra and Van Soest, 1987).
Ecology: In the intertidal and shallow subtidal area, growing on Fucus etc.
Distribution: Norway, Denmark, west coast Sweden, British Isles, France, Spain, Portugal, Mediterranean.
Etymology: limbatus (Latin) = fringed, referring to the spined surface which give the oscules a fringed aspect.
Type specimen information: Holotype not extant (?). Earliest described material available is several specimens of the Johnston collection in BMNH, no.'s 1847:9:7:88-89, 91, labelled Spongia limbata.

Remarks

The species is the type of the genus Acervochalina Ridley, 1884, until recently considered a valid genus, but now it is a junior synonym (cf. de Weerdt, 2002). Chalinula limbata is characterized by its resilient, spongy consistency. It differs from the other tubular Chalinula species of the study area (C. loosanoffi) by its much firmer consistency, by the higher development of spongin, and by the absence of gemmulae. These are characteristically present in C. loosanoffi. Remarkable is the variation in the size of the oxeas and the amount of spongin (cf. also Van Soest, 1976).
Source: De Weerdt, 1986

Chalinula limbata