Working with others

Sea sponges are known for their weird shapes and odd looking structures.  These structures have developed over 600 million years ago and their shapes not only help the sponge with collecting food for itself, but it allows for other organisms to use them as well.  Their shapes allow for things like crabs, shrimps, snails, worms, copepods and multiple other miniature sea life to take refuge inside of the sea sponge.  We refer to this as having a symbiotic relationship. Symbiotic relationships happen when two animals are able to live together or live in close relation to each other and benefit off each other. There are lots of famous symbiotic relationships like the clownfish and the anemone or a shark and remora!

Okay, I hear ya defenders. A shrimp, sitting in a sea sponge, eating detritus, is not as exciting as a remora riding a shark, but it is a great way for the shrimp to survive longer than it would without shelter.  You might be asking yourself, “how does the sea sponge benefit from the shrimp?” and that is a great question defenders!  Most sea sponges are filter feeders, and they feed off things floating around in the water. When the little crabs and shrimps are eating, they tend to create lots of debris. Filters feeders will feed on this debris, along with thousands of other tiny things floating around in the water. Some sea sponges get really big and can act like little apartments for dozens of other species.

Sea Sponges tend to be the most colorful and abundant on in the tropics and thrive best in slow moving waters.  In fact Sea Sponges play a huge role in the health of the coral reefs.  Learn why in the Coral Reef Center!

It’s great to see teamwork in the wild isn’t it defenders? To learn more about some awesome animals head to the Animal Kingdom tile in the kids’ zone. You can also spend some time testing your brain over in the Quiz Center!

Keep Exploring Defenders!