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Schmidt, 1864

Species Overview

Sarcotragus muscarum Schmidt (1864) is a large, massive, red-brown or marooon sponge with irregular coarsely conulose surface. The small oscules may have a transparent rim. It is a southern species recorded from the NW coast of Spain.

Taxonomic Description

Colour: Red-brown, maroon, yellowish or even blackish, typically variously tinted in the same individual.
Shape, size, surface and consistency: Irregularly massive, up to 15 cm thick and 50 cm or more across, but usually much smaller. Surface coarsely conulose, with conules 1.5-3 mm high, spaced 2-15 mm apart. Oscules small, 1-1.5 mm in diameter, often provided with a transparent rim. Consistency firmly compressible, resistant to tearing or cutting.
Spicules: Absent.
Skeleton: (Sarcotragus muscarum fib) The ectosome is a tough thick epidermis charged with a reticulation of sand grains. The choanosomal skeleton is a system of primary and secondary fibres, which are free from foreign inclusions, but have a distinct pith in primary fibres, mostly transparent in transmitted light. Primary fibres 80-150 µm in diameter. Secondary fibres, sometimes forming perforated spongin sheets, are 35-90 µm. Filaments are extremely fine and numerous: 0.8-2.3 µm
Reproduction: September-November (Carballo et al., 1994).
Ecology: Rocky substrate, from the tide mark down to 400 m.
Distribution: Galicia, Mediterranean, West Africa.
Etymology: musca (Latin) = fly, presumably material of this sponge when brought above water attracts flies.
Type specimen information: Type specimens are in the Graz Museum, LMJG 15480, 15417 and 15484.

Remarks

This species is close to S. spinosula but differs in the much coarser conules and more irregular shape. Usually, S. spinosula is darker coloured. Recent authors tend to consider both species synonymous.
Source: Vacelet (1959).

Sarcotragus muscarum