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(Haeckel, 1870)

Species Overview

Leucosolenia fragilis (Haeckel, 1870) is a calcareous sponge forming a network of thin white tubes on the substrate which bears a number of separate thin, erect, short tubes. Apparemntly, individuals may also become bushy if one of the erect tubes branches outwards. It differs from similar Leucosolenia species in having the erect tubes not anastomosed; also it has no tetractine spicules (microscopic examination).

Species Overview

Colour: Yellowish to white.
Shape, size, surface and consistency: Thin tubes forming a network on the substrate and erecting themselves singly and for a short distance, ending in an oscule. Height 1-6 mm. Occasionally more elaborate specimens have a single tube branching out to form a short bush of up to 10 mm, then resembling L. variabilis and other Leucosolenia species. Surface faintly hispid. Consistency soft and fragile.
Spicules: (Leucosolenia fragilis spics) Calcareous. Triactines and oxeas; no tetractines. Triactines subregular, with irregular characteristically curved rays: 80-160 x 3-10 µm. Oxeas, irregularly curved: 170-230 x 7-10 µm.
Skeleton: Asconoid arrangement. Triactines lie in the wall of the tubes, oxeas are pointing outwards.
Ecology: Shallow-water, 5-9 m.
Distribution: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany; also E coast of N America.
Etymology: The name refers to the consistency.
Type specimen information: No type material in BMNH.

Remarks

The non-anastomed erect tubes in combination with the absence of tetractines make this species rather distinct among the Leucosolenia species of the area. Burton (1963) uses the name L. thamnoides for this species, based on dubious synonymy; we prefer to retain the customary name.
Source: Arndt, 1935.

Leucosolenia fragilis