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Schmidt, 1862

Species Overview

Sarcotragus spinosulus Schmidt, 1862 is a massive, often horizontally flattened blackish sponge with regular finely conulose surface. The oscules are distinct and regularly distributed. It is a southern species recorded from the Atlantic coasts of Spain and Portugal.

Taxonomic Description

Colour: Black or dark grey-brown (light-brown inside).
Shape, size, surface and consistency: (Sarcotragus spinosulus big) (Sarcotragus spinosulus Schmidt) Regularly massive to rounded, often with a slightly retracted base making it subspherical, up to 6 cm thick and wide. Surface finely and regularly conulose, with conules 0.3-2 mm high, spaced 1.5-2.5 mm apart. Oscules fairly large, distinct, regularly distributed: 2-3.5 mm in diameter. Consistency firmly compressible, resistant to tearing or cutting; rough to the touch.
Spicules: Absent.
Skeleton: (Sarcotragus spinosulus fibres) 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 80-190 µm in diameter. Secondary fibres, sometimes forming perforated spongin sheets, are 50-130 µm. Filaments are extremely fine and numerous: 0.7-2.0 µm
Reproduction: November (Carballo et al., 1994).
Ecology: Rocky substrate, between 1 and 300 m, especially common between 8 and 25 m.
Distribution: Portugal, Galicia; Mediterranean.
Etymology: The name refers to the relatively fine conules of the surface in this species.
Type specimen information: Type specimens are in the Graz Museum, LMJG 15428-15431, 15482-15483. Specimen in BMNH: 1867.7.26.76 (dry), Adriatic. Purchased of O. Schmidt—Type?


This species is close to S. muscarum but differs in the much finer conules and more regular subspherical shape. Usually, S. spinosula is much darker coloured.
Source: Vacelet (1959).

Sarcotragus spinosulus