1) Although sea sponges are classified as animals, they do not have brains, a nervous, digestive, or circulatory system.
2) Sponges are queer! I mean, most sponges are intersex and function as both sexes simultaneously, producing both eggs and sperm.
3) Female bottlenose dolphins in Western Australia have been observed using sea sponges on their noses for protection as they search for food on the sandy sea bottom. This behavior is then passed on and taught to their daughter(s). Go dolphin Moms!
4) Sponges have medicinal potential. The chemicals that a sponge produces are being used to find a cure for cancer and many other diseases! Lacking any protective shell or means of escape, sponges have evolved to synthesize a variety of unusual compounds. One such class is the oxidized fatty acid derivatives called oxylipins. Members of this family have been found to have anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Pharmaceutical companies are experimenting with some of these compounds, as they are believed to be able to help combat malaria, tuberculosis and cancer. Chemicals from sea sponges are already used to make some antiviral medications.
5) The sea sponge is a renewable natural resource- Natural Sea Sponges possess remarkable powers of regeneration, they have the ability to re-grow lost parts and pieces broken off by water currents, and have the ability to settle in another location and re-grow into a clone of the parent sponge. The sea sponge has been harvested for over 150yrs.
If not harvested, sea sponges have a definitive life span of approximately 10 years, harvesting allows for re-generation and extended life.
6) 1 cubic centimeter of sponge can filter 20 liters of water a day.
7) Some deep sea sponges can live up to the age of 200 years. Some calcified demosponges have even been reported to live for a thousand years and more.
8) There are over 5,000 different living species of sponge, including this meat-eating deep sea sponge:
9) Sea sponges are one of the oldest living organisms in the earth, inhabiting the planet for last 500 million years.
10) In the ancient world, the use of sponges was common throughout various cultures. In Greece, sponges were used for painting, cleaning, and hygiene. In Rome, a sponge on a stick sufficed as a primitive toilet paper. And in Egypt, sponges were gathered for bathing and cleansing. And of course have been used for menstruation by women in coastal areas for thousands of years 🙂