This is yet another really fascinating animal I first heard about today while watching videos about deep sea creatures and shit.
What I am talking about are Hexactinellid sponges, or glass sponges as they are most commonly known.
Sure, I know, sponges are not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when we think of animals due to being mostly inanimate and so...un-animal like 😅 But at the end of the day, they are technically animals 😀
Glass sponges are pretty rare, usually occuring in depths ranging from 450 to 900 metres although certain survivors can be found in swallower or deeper waters. others have been found much deeper. Although occurring all over the world, they are most common in Antarctic and Northern Pacific waters.
But what makes them so fascinating? Well, they have two really amazing attributes!
First, they have remarkable longevity and they possibly are the world's longest living animal. How long they can go for is still up to debate, but it's in the thousands depending on the species.
In a recent paper, an individual of the Monorhaphis chuni glass sponge species was found to be at least 8000 thousand year old!!!! That's two times older then the Giza pyramids 😯😯😯
The lifespan of the spicule can be estimated to 11,000 ± 3000 years using the long-term trend of the inferred temperatures fitted to the seawater temperature–age relationships since the Last Glacial Maximum. source
But wait, there's more!
As their name suggests, their tissues are comprised of glass-like structural particles, called spicules, that are made of silica (hence their name).
The video below has some amazing footage of these creatures and explains a bit more about their glass like bodies.
And here's some more great footage by EVnautilis
Ok, one final video about the Venus flower basket glass sponge and their mutualistic relationship with the house glass sponge shrimp (tldr, the shrimp live, mate and eventually get trapped in the shelter the sponge provides)
All in all, amazing creatures, full of beauty and wonder!
Here are two links if you found these creatures as fascinating as me and want to learn more about them:
Posted with STEMGeeks