Killer Sponge Top 10 New Species of 2010
(Carnivorous sponge Chondrocladia (Meliiderma) turbiformis, holotype, a paratype, isochelae and trochirhabd spicules) Image courtesy of Jean Vacelet
Name: Chondrocladia (Meliiderma) turbiformis
Common Name: None
How it made the Top 10: The person who nominated this species stated, "Fifteen years ago, the discovery that a deep-sea sponge family, the Cladorhizidae, was carnivorous greatly surprised the world of Zoology. Carnivorous sponges in fact display very high diversity in the deep ocean, especially in the Pacific where most of the collected specimens appear as undescribed taxa. Among these, Chondrocladia turbiformis displays a special type of spicule for which the new term “trochirhabd” has been coined. Similar spicules were known from fossil strata of the Early Jurassic, suggesting that carnivorous sponges were already present in the Mesozoic. The name turbiformis derives from the spindle or whirl-shaped form of the characteristic trochirhabds (Latin, turbo, spinning top, disc)."
Reference: Vacelet, J., M. Kelly and M. Schlacher-Hoenlinger. 2009. Two new species of Chondrocladia (Demospongiae: Cladorhizidae) with a new spicule type from the deep south Pacific, and a discussion of the genus Meliiderma. Zootaxa 2073: 57–68.
Type Material: Holotype and paratypes – National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, New Zealand.
Type Locality: New Zealand, Chatham Rise, Pyre Seamount.
Etymology: "Named for the spindle or whirl-shaped form of the characteristic trochirhabds (Latin, turbo, spinning top, disc)."