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Phylum Porifera: General Characters and more

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Poriferes or Sponges

Poriferes or Sponges

Sponges constitute the Phylum Porifera ( L. porus, pore+ ferre, to bear) which are the simplest type of metazoans. The term Porifera was coined by Robert Grant and it means “pore bearers” due to the presence of tiny pores on their body. The study of Porifera or sponges is called Parazoology. The Phylum Porifera include more than 5000 animal species, mostly marine, but includes about 150 fresh water inhabitants also. They found in all seas, wherever there are rocks, shells, submerged timbers, or coral to provide a suitable substratum. Most sponges prefer relatively shallow water, but some groups including most glass sponges, live in deep water.

Barell sponge

Barell sponge

Yellow tube Sponge

Yellow tube Sponge

General Characters:

  • They are the most primitive metazoans.
  • Sponges are multicellular animals lacking specialized tissues and organs.
  • Body grows to various shapes. Most of them are asymmetrical and some are radially symmetrical.
  • They are diploblastic animals[ (Having two germ layers ectoderm(pinacoderm) and endoderm(chanoderm)].
  • They are simple animals having cellular level of organization. Cells are not organised to tissues or organs.
  • The bodies of the sponges are supported by spicules made up of calcium, silica or sponging fibres.
  • The name Porifera means pore bearing animals. The body wall has numerous pores called ostia. The body encloses large cavity called spongocoel. Water enters the spongocoel through the ostia and inter connecting canals present in the body wall. All inter connecting are collectively called canal system. Water leaves the spongocoel through a large aperture called osculam. The canals inside the body are linked by flagellated collar cells or choanocytes. The food particles present in water current are taken by these cells.
  • They lack a metazoan type of digestive system. They rely entirely on intracellular digestion.
  • Mouth, digestive cavity and anus are absent.
  • Nervous system and sense organs are also absent.
  • Reproduction is both by sexual or asexual means.
  • Asexual reproduction takes place by budding or by specialized cell called gemmules. Gemmules develop into new sponges during favourable conditions.
  • Life cycle includes ciliated free swimming larvae called amphiblastula or parenchymula.
  • Sponges show greater power of regeration.

More about Animal Kingdoms

Classes of Phylum Porifera

Phlum Porifera include three classes, chiefly based on the type of its skeleton. The skeleton of some sponges are utilised for many purposes such as washing, bathing, scrubbing, mopping etc.

1. Class- Calcarea:These include the sponges with skeleton of calcareous spicules.

Example: Leucosolenia, Sycon

2. Class Hexactinellida:They include glass sponges which are most symmetrical.

Example: Euplectella

3. Class Demospongia: Largest class of sponges with brilliant coloration .Skeleton formed of siliceous spicules and sponging fibres.

Example: Euspongia (Bath sponge), Spongilla (Fresh water sponge), Thena, Ciliona

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Supriya Kshirsagar on August 20, 2017:

Helped to create my own notes

banashankat on August 16, 2017:

god bless you sir for giving this information

Hilal Ahmad on January 13, 2017:


Aamir Farooq on January 08, 2017:


Piyush jhariya on December 08, 2016:

I like this ..

Sana on October 20, 2016:

Its so clear to read

Aakriti on October 16, 2016:

Very good notes

Momi on July 03, 2016:

A complete information.. thank u

Angle on April 01, 2016:

Silent character of phlyum porifera???? Plzz

arnold on February 28, 2016:


Bedar on September 15, 2015:


Abhishek Singh on September 11, 2015:

There are given many hard words but this hard word are very useful in daily life.

poojitha on August 11, 2015:

it is usefull to make my assingment .and if much more information it is good

santosh Baddukonda on August 04, 2015:

It is so useful for zoologists

Kamalika Ray on July 28, 2015:

How can I get the family tree of Non-chordate animals of taxnomi?

mavi... on March 22, 2015:

Your notes r best....

Mounesh Balurgi on November 18, 2014:

What is this life cycle ? life cycle are all animal cycle are changing ? Why changing cycles

hansika sarath on September 13, 2014:

it's very helpful 4 our studies

vejjii on August 27, 2014:

what about the life cycle?

kachu on August 02, 2014:

It is really helpful.....................

sharad desale on April 04, 2014:

Give me please animals phylum and vegetative character

barbie on July 06, 2013:



sheiny lou on January 31, 2013:

it really helps me to our activity.. thank you..

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