Chalinula renieroides Schmidt (1868) is a light pinkish- or purple-brown, massively encrusting, lobate, soft sponge, which has been recorded several times in the Mediterranean-Atlantic area. It differs from other species of Chalinula in having a thick basis and in the possession of robust oxeas (microscopic examination).
Colour: Light purple brown in life, purplish grey-brown in alcohol.
Shape, size, surface and consistency: Massively encrusting, with irregular lobes; size up to 10 x 2.5 x 1.5 cm; oscules flush, 2-3 mm in diameter; surface hispid; consistency, soft, limp, highly compressible.
Spicules: Short, robust, gradually but sharply pointed oxeas: 75-120 x 3-10 µm.
Skeleton: (chalinula_renieroides_skel.jpg) Ectosomal: spicules and fibre terminations pierce the organic dermis, no special ectosomal skeleton. Choanosomal: the skeleton is a loosely arranged open reticulation of paucispicular primary lines (2-6 spicules in cross section) and interconnecting uni-paucispicular lines (1-4 spicules in cross section), normally of more than one spicule in length. All skeletal lines are enveloped in moderate quantities of spongin.
Reproduction: Embryos (and thus presumably larvae) are orange and bear juvenile spicules (Griessinger, 1971:chalinula_renieroides_ske2.jpg).
Ecology: On rocks in the littoral and shallow sublittoral; in estuarine areas.
Distribution: Mediterranean, Azores, Canary Islands.
Etymology: renieroides = resembling Reniera, a junior synonym of Haliclona, referring to the similar skeleton and consistency.
Type specimen information: Paris Museum, MNHN D.T. 748 (two microscopic slides).
Chalinula fertilis Keller, 1879 was until recently considered a separate sympatric species, but is now accepted as a junior synonym. Acervochalina Ridley (1884) was erected for Spongia limbata Montagu (1818) and thus constitutes a synonym as limbata is a clear Chalinula. Van Soest's (1980) synonymization of Acervochalina and Haliclona is refuted.
The present species was recently collected on Tenerife (Playa de las Teresitas, 2m, specimen in the collections of the Zoologisch Museum Amsterdam, reg. no. POR. 5191); its life colour was purple-brown.
Lévi (1959), described from West Africa Chalinula parasimulans, recently also found on Tenerife (Cruz, pers. comm.), and Boury-Esnault and Lopes (1985) described Chalinula nigra from the Azores. Both are related but different species with much darker live colour.
A twin species of C. fertilis seems to be Chalinula molitba (De Laubenfels, 1950), from the West Indian region (cf. Van Soest, 1980); differences are the considerably thinner spicules in the latter.
Source: De Weerdt and Van Soest, 1986; de Weerdt, 2002.