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#446138 - 09/08/12 05:05 PM Xestospongia muta, the Giant Barrel Sponge
elbert Offline
Xestospongia muta, commonly known as the giant barrel sponge, is one of the largest species of sponge found in the Caribbean. It grows at depths of 10 metres (33 ft) or more and it grows between 60 cm and 1.8 m. It is brown-grey to reddish in color, with a hard or stony texture. There is little scientific information about the species, although it has been monitored since 1997.[2]
X. muta has been called the "redwood of the reef" due to its up to 2000 year lifespan as well as its size and color.

Juan Carlos shot this at Sandy point.
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#446147 - 09/08/12 07:48 PM Re: Xestospongia muta, the Giant Barrel Sponge [Re: elbert]
elbert Offline
NOAA's Aquarius Reef Base at UNCW, NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program says this "With a library of over 5000 digital images of 600+ sponges from 12 permanent, 16 m diameter circular plots on Conch and Pickles reefs off Key Largo, we modeled growth to estimate ages of large sponges within our plots at >100 years, and very large X. muta at other sites at over 2000 years old, placing these sponges among the oldest animals on earth (McMurray et al. 2008)".
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