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Animation of How a Sponge gets its Oxygen and Food

The filter chambers are lined with collar cells. Each individual collar cell has a single whip-like flagellum, which beats in a rhythmic manner. The coordinated beating of the combined flagella force water through the sponge. As food particles pass the collar, the small particles become trapped, where they are engulfed by the cell body and digested within the food vacuoles.

Animation of how a collar cell draws in water and food

Sponges vary greatly in shape and colour depending upon their habitat, water currents and depth. The only way researchers can identify relationships is by looking at small microscopic hook-like spicules which form part of the sponge body wall skeleton.

Return to Sponges


Bennett, I. (1987) W.J. Dakin's classic study: Australian Seashores. Angus & Robertson, Sydney.

Davey, K. (1998) A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. New Holland, Sydney.

Edgar, G.J. (1997) Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books, Kew.

Quinn, G.P., Wescott, G.C. & Synnot, R.N. (1992) Life on the Rocky Shores of South-Eastern Australia: an illustrated field guide. Victorian National Parks Association, Melbourne.

Marine Research Group of Victoria (1984) Coastal Invertebrates of Victoria: an atlas of selected species. Museum of Victoria, Melbourne.

Niesen, T.M. (1982) The Marine Biology Coloring Book. Barnes & Noble, New York.


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photo of Keith DaveyLife on Australian Seashores
by Keith Davey (C) 2000

Learning Consultant - Media
The University of Newcastle

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Scientific Consultant: Phil Colman
site created 01.01.98 : updated 01.04.2000