Ping Pong Tree Sponge Facts
- The rather surprising and visually distinctive Ping Pong Tree Sponge represents one of 33 species of sea sponges that form a unique genus.
- This fascinating undersea species, along with the other 32 in its genus, evolved as carnivorous demosponges, a rather unique group.
- Those species classified as demosponges also constitute about 90 percent of all known sponges, including freshwater ones.
- This remarkable looking creature also represents a newly discovered member of this ocean group, which already contains many fascinating species.
Ping Pong Tree Sponge Physical Characteristics
The visually astonishing Ping Pong Tree Sponge attains an average height of about 20 in (50 cm). However, the majority of this height comes from a single slender stalk which roots firmly into the substrate of the ocean floor.
Yet at the top of the central stalk, numerous smaller stems project outward in random patterns. At the end of each of these stems, the animal presents numerous sections in a spherical shape.
It is these which gives rise to its name and which make for a beautiful appearance. Also, those spheres vary between 3-5 mm in diameter, while numerous tiny hooked spicules cover them as well.
Ping Pong Tree Sponge Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Unfortunately, only a few specimens of the Ping Pong Tree Sponge have been found to date. This sadly makes for currently insufficient data.
These also appeared only at great depths measuring roughly 8,860 ft (2,700 m).
Additionally, the small but eye-catching Ping Pong Tree Sponge appears to prefer to inhabit highly specific regions. These so far consist of areas of lava-based sediment.
The animal also evolved as a carnivore, feeding primarily on small crustaceans. Prey touching its appendages quickly finds itself trapped and slowly digested.