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(Bowerbank, 1866)

Species Overview

Desmacella inornata (Bowerbank, 1866) is massive, sometimes irregularly branched sponge with irregular surface. Colour greyish white. It is a deep-water species with a wide European distribution.

Taxonomic Description

Colour: Greyish white.
Shape, size, surface and consistency: Massive, irregular, occasionally with creeping branches. Thickness up to 7 cm. Surface irregular. Oscules few and rather large. Consistency fragile.
Spicules: (Desmacella inornata spics) Megascleres: Tylostyles of great size variation: 190-1000 x 6-18 µm.
Microscleres are sigmas: 20-45 µm.
Skeleton: Ectosomal: a tangential layer of single megascleres or a reticulation of bundles, or a confused mass. Choanosomal: multispicular bundles arranged in irregular reticulation.
Ecology: Deep water, 100-270 m.
Distribution: Shetlands, W coasts of Ireland, Norway, Portugal.
Etymology: inornatus (Latin) = unadorned, simple, presumably referring to the habit, which is rather simple.
Type specimen information: Natural History Museum, slides from type, unregistered (Bk. 654).


This species differs from Desmacella annexa mainly in the absence of toxiform microscleres.
Source: Burton, 1930a.

Desmacella inornata