To use this guide

To use this guide …


  • click the link to Identification Guide; you will find three sets of menus that refer to three different sets of sponge characteristics, with different image types. External Form menu selections retrieve underwater or laboratory photos of whole sponges, and refer to external morphological characters. Mineral Skeleton (Spicules) selections bring up microphotographs and drawings of skeletal spicules and refer to their characteristics. Fibers and Skeletal Architecture selections retrieve photos and drawings of spongin fibers and sections through the skeleton, and refer to the particular arrangement of the skeletal elements (spicules and/or fibers) in the sponge;
  • click on any character menu, e.g., Growth Form, to activate a IntroGuideIMG1drop-down list of character state choices, e.g., branching or massive;
  • select one choice from multiple drop-down menus to narrow your search and click on the “Search for matching species” button. For example, selecting choices from Growth Form (e.g., branching), Surface (e.g., conulose), Consistency (e.g., compressible) and External Color (e.g., yellow) will call up images of fewer species than fewer choices;
  • you do not have to select a choice from every menu;IntroGuideIMG2
  • submit separate searches for the three main menu sets, that is, do not submit a single search that includes choices from, say, both External Form and Fibers and Skeletal Architecture;
  • click on any image produced by your search to bring up that species’ page, which includes a description, images, spicules and skeletal architecture, habitat and ecological data. Pages may also have images linked to other similar species;
  • you can also go directly to a particular species page by clicking on a name on the species list.
  • click on the “Reset all category values” button to clear your search and start another;
  • click on information (I) buttons if you are uncertain about a character state to activate pages that describe the character choices in greater detail with images (because one person’s “bushy” might be another’s “branching”). Not all menus have this feature, e.g., Consistency and Exudate choices are not represented by images.


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