Sponges take part in wide variety of symbiotic relationships.  They have become a source of shelter for a variety of small marine plants that take refuge in the vast porous system of the sponge.  They have formed a mutualistic relationship with various types of bacteria and algae as well, offering protection for the microorganisms in exchange for an alternate source of food and minerals.  On the other hand, sponges tend to cause some harm as well.  As a source of locomotion sponges can excavate themselves to the surface of corals or the shell of a grown mollusk.  This can often harm the receiving end of the sponge's attachment.  When the sponge attaches it degrades the surface it rests on in order to gain a better "foot hold."  In turn, however, the shell of the mollusk or the outer Calcium casing of the coral is degenerated and sometimes results in the death of the host organism.  On the bright side, this can also act as an important mechanism in which the host organism's calcium covering is recycled.

    To learn more about what a sponge likes to eat, please visit the Nutrition section of my page!
    Sponges tend to come in a wide variety of colors and shapes.  Their bright colors can sometimes be a sure sign of toxicity.  Many sponges use this toxicity or color to ward off possible enimies.  Because of this defense mechanism, along with the fact that sponges aren't a very nutrition mean, they do not have many predators.  However one species, Apolemichthys arcuatus, more commonly known as the Bandit Angelfish, has developed a way to efficiently prey on sponges.  The angelfish use their small, pointed mouths to burrow deep into the sponge.  They then use their numerous teeth to shred the sponge into tiny pieces, gaining whatever nutrients they can.   A worthy opponent...

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