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November 7 2012

Extraordinary New Sponge Species Discovered


The new species is named the harp sponge, or Chondrocladia lyra, because its basic structure is shaped like a lyre or harp.

Typically, sponges feed by straining bacteria and bits of organic material from the seawater they filter through their bodies. However, C. lyra is a deep-sea predator.

Harp sponges snare their prey – tiny crustaceans – with barbed hooks that cover the sponge’s branching limbs. Once the harp sponge has its prey in its clutches, it envelops the animal in a thin membrane, and then slowly begins to digest it.

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