Halichondria panicea, commonly known as the breadcrumb sponge, is a species of marine demosponge belonging to the family Halichondriidae. Peter Simon Pallas ( September 22, 1741, Berlin — September 8, 1811, Berlin) was a German Zoologist The Demospongiae are the largest class in the Phylum Porifera. Halichondriidae is a family of marine Demosponges belonging to the order Halichondrida. This is an abundant sponge of coastal areas of the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea ranging from the intertidal zone to a recorded depth of over 550 m. It is very tolerant of a wide range of coastal habitats, including strong currents, high salinity and exposure to powerful wave action. Salinity is the Saltiness or dissolved salt content of a body of Water. Its only requirement is a rocky substrate which can include small cobbles. In Biology a substrate is the surface a plant or animal lives upon
Halichondria panicea occurs in a very wide range of forms and can be difficult to identify. Some forms have a granular surface which gives rise to the common name but sometimes the surface is smooth, even glassy. The surface is often marked with pores (osculae) which can extend into tubular "chimneys" in wave-sheltered habitats. The overall form is determined largely by the habitat: wave-exposed forms usually form thin widespread sheets but wave-sheltered forms often form massive encrustations up to 20 cm thick.
The colour is also variable. The "natural" colour is cream or grey: this is usually found in specimens from relatively deep water. However at shallower depths, the sponge is usually green due to symbiotic algae which live close to the surface of the sponge. This article is about the biological phenomenon for other uses see Symbiosis (disambiguation The term symbiosis (from the Greek Algae ( sing. alga are a large and diverse group of simple typically Autotrophic organisms ranging from Unicellular to Multicellular forms At intermediate depths the sponge tends to be green in summer, cream or grey in winter.
One fairly reliable identifying feature is the smell: freshly collected specimens smell very strongly of seaweed. Seaweed is a loose colloquial term encompassing macroscopic Multicellular, benthic marine Algae.
Halichondria panicea is a suspension feeder feeding mainly on phytoplankton. Filter feeders (also known as suspension feeders) are Animals that feed by straining suspended matter and food particles from water typically by passing the water Phytoplankton are the Autotrophic component of the Plankton community For such a common species, relatively little is known about its reproduction: It appears to be a hermaphrodite and oogenesis has been reported as occurring in a very narrow timeband within a single population although exceptions have been observed. A hermaphrodite is an organism having both male and female reproductive organs Oogenesis or rarely oögenesis is the creation of an Ovum (egg cell